Castles and Coveting

I warned you. I told you I had alot of pictures. And three hours sitting in a pew certainly make the occasional sermon that stretches to a half hour seem short.

While I realize that showing pictures of your vacation can seem like flaunting your experience, I trust no one felt that way. I viewed it as simply sharing with family something we enjoyed, and thought some might enjoy as well. And I do think that even those who didn’t endure to the end enjoyed the pictures. Maybe they even learned something, as I did while taking them.

I had a particular aha moment while looking at the castles perched on the hills that line the Rhine. They weren’t built there to attract tourists, they were built to protect the people who lived in the valleys below them.

Our guide pointed out that people who lived elsewhere would decide they wanted what someone had, and would attempt to take it. My first thought was why? Why didn’t they just stay where they were, and farm their own piece of land? Then it hit me; they coveted what their neighbor had.

Obviously I’m well aware that the 10th commandment is “You shall not covet.” I do, however, have to admit that I generally thought of it as the least important of the commandments; almost like an after-thought. Oh, and by the way, don’t even covet. Now I see it not at the bottom of the list, but as foundational to all the rest.

Coveting is a sin of the heart that leads to sinful activity. If you don’t covet your neighbor’s possessions, you won’t lie, steal, or kill to get them. If you don’t covet his wife, you won’t commit adultery. If you don’t covet the silver spoon in someone’s mouth, you will honor your own parents. And if you don’t think you’ve been short-changed by God, you won’t bad-mouth Him, or look for another.

The wars that fashioned Europe into what it is today were caused by coveting, and the horrible things we do to each other are fundamentally caused by it as well. Oh that we, like Paul, could learn the secret of contentment, and simply live in gratitude for all God has done, and has promised to do for us.

God Bless, Rick

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