Exodus 20:17 (KJV): “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.”
COMMENTARY: Much of modern culture is materialistic and covetous, in direct contradiction to this Tenth Commandment. We need to be willing to take a look in the mirror, and see ourselves for who we have become, and repent.
APPLICATION: To a degree, our economy is based on a culture of discontent and covetousness. Keeping up with others motivates people to purchase goods and services. We see a neighbor buy something new, and we are stirred through envy to buy something new. We see a neighbor get a job promotion, and we are stirred through envy to get a job promotion. We see a neighbor’s child going to a prestigious school, and we are stirred through envy to enroll our child in a prestigious school.
This escalation continues until we find ourselves in serious financial bondage. This bondage tears away at the fabric of our marriage and family life, and can lead to destruction.
By contrast, contentment brings peace. It’s still okay to pursue God-given goals, but as you pursue His goals, you should be content with what He provides you with. Contentment is a rare quality in today’s culture, but it’s extremely liberating. Why put yourself in bondage when you can be free? As the Word says in Galatians 5:1, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”
For Further Exploration
For further exploration about Matthew 21:23 (KJV)，read Living in the New Kingdom (Matthew 18-25) from the Theology of Work Bible Commentary.