Monday, May 08, 2006

You Shall Not Covet Your Neighbor's Goods

It was a gorgeous sunny day in the town where James and Steve lived. James and Steve were not only brothers, they were best friends. They did everything together from when they were babies like crawling together as infants, to learning to ride bikes at the same time as toddlers. Now as ten year olds playing sports together and even going to school together—they were like twins, even though Steve was older. They spent most of their time together. In fact they even shared a room and bunk beds.

James and Steve lived across the street from a young boy named Andre. Andre had everything that the two boys ever wished for. Andre was an only child and his parents had unlimited amounts of money. Andre’s parents loved to give him gifts, lots of gifts.

Whenever the boys would go to Andre’s house, James would just stare at all the cool things Andre owned. Andre had three bicycles, one for racing, another for mountain climbing, and one for riding to school. It was the most amazing thing that they ever saw, since each of the boys only had one bicycle.

James wanted to spend lots of time with Andre. However, when James was with Andre, his manners started to change. James always asked Andre about his belongings. He would ask Andre to show him all the neat stuff he had. He would ask Andre to let him play with the things. Pretty soon all James wanted to do was spend all his time with Andre.

Soon, James stopped spending time with Steve. James no longer wanted Steve to play with him and Andre. He would say, “I don’t have time for you Steve, my good friend Andre and I are busy.” James would then run across the street to Andre’s house and leave Steve alone.

All that James could think about was Andre’s stuff. James became grouchy and wanted nothing to do with his family. One night at dinner, he shouted, “I wish I was not in this family. I wish I was in Andre’s family where they have great things. I don’t even like it here. If I was Andre’s brother, I would have desert every night.”

James’s dad said, “Stop that talk!” and called James into the living room and said, "James, we need to chat."

His dad said, “James you are my son, I give you everything I can including my deep and total love. Still, I need to tell you that your behavior is inappropriate and that you are falling into the trap of coveting. The tenth commandment tells us not to covet our neighbor’s goods.”

He went further to say, “Coveting is when you want something that belongs to someone else so much it changes you and usually leads to others sins.” He explained how his coveting Andre’s good had indeed changed him.

He showed James how he was now grouchy and cranky and how he was no longer joyful, like God calls everyone to become. He showed James how all he talked about were new Stuff. James had stopped talking about the really important things in life like how much he loved his brothers and sister, family and how much he cared for everyone. Most of all, he had stopped talking about God’s love in his life.

James stood in shock. He could not believe what his parents were saying. His mother put her arm around him and said, “Yes son, everything your father mentioned is true and more. Your marks in school are dropping, too. Be careful! Coveting can lead to other sins.”

James began to cry because he had realized he had truly forgotten others and all he thought about was Andre’s stuff. Even though Andre was generous, James’s problem was that he wanted Andre’s goods more than anything else in life.

Everything you have is what God has given to you. God gives different things to different people, what is important is that we be happy with what we have in life and use our gifts wisely to make the world a better place for each other to live and for God to do His work.

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