TTC #10 – Don't covet


Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.

How much nicer our lives would be if we were just happy with what we have.

Isn’t it ironic that we have scads of TV shows where people get their perfectly usable kitchens, homes, bedrooms, bathrooms, whatever, remodeled, and yet there are so many in the world who don’t even have a home, let alone a perfectly good usable one. Our society is so stuck on needing bigger and better instead of just being happy with what they have. I grew up in a home with three bedrooms and one bathroom. We had nine (9) people in the family. We learned to get along really well. There were four boys in one small room, just big enough for two bunk beds, four dressers, and a space to sit down on the floor. All of us are great friends. We learned to live with what we had, and learned to be happy with it. Sure we would have loved a second or third bathroom. Believe me, we would have loved it.

My mother and wife are great examples of people who do not coveting the things of others. They often want things, but are always quick to check themselves and be happy for things that they already have.

There would be so much less greed, dishonesty, corruption and ill feelings if people would just be happy with what they have.

A great talk on this commandment is here:

Gordon B. Hinckley, “‘Thou Shalt Not Covet’,” Ensign, Mar 1990, 2

A great quote comes from a seminal talk on the Ten Commandments by President Ezra Taft Benson (Ezra Taft Benson, “America at the Crossroads,” New Era, Jul 1978, 36).

“10. Last, “Thou shalt not covet.” (Ex. 20:17.) Covetousness is one of the besetting sins of this generation, and our covetousness reaches every item forbidden in the commandments—our neighbor’s house, his wife, his help, his worldly goods, and everything that is our neighbor’s. Covetousness, plus love of idleness, lie at the root of our violation of the law of work, with all the ills that has brought. Covetousness has invaded our homes, our communities, the nations of the world. It has brought with it greed, and avarice, and ambition, and love of power. Men scheme, plan, overreach, cheat, and lie to get their neighbor’s heritage. Covetousness threatens the peace of the world today more than any other one element. But God said, “Thou shalt not covet.””

And in closing out this study of the Ten Commandments are some closing thoughts by Ezra Taft Benson from this same talk.

“These are the foundation principles upon which all civilized government and our present civilization is built. To disregard them will lead to inevitable personal character loss and ruin. To disregard them as a nation will inevitably lead that nation to destruction.”

“I remember a number of years ago when Cecil B. DeMille, the great producer of the film The Ten Commandments, was invited to accept an honorary degree from Brigham Young University. In his address to the student body, Mr. DeMille made this interesting observation. He said that men and nations cannot really break the Ten Commandments; they can only break themselves against them. How true that is!”

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