‘You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.’ Exodus 20:18 (NIV)
Since I saw the very first one in my hometown in Ohio, in around 1988, I have wanted ‘Miata’. One of the doctors I worked for bought the first one I had ever seen, the first one in our community. And when first I laid eyes on that beautiful little blue car, I was hooked.
Now, at the time, I knew I could not even entertain the thought of having such a car. For one thing, I had three small kids. What would I do with them? And the other thing was Miata’s were brand new. There were not as yet any ‘used’ ones. The price tag was outrageous, at least to my small check book. And I knew that, even though I so admired it, Miata was not for me. So I moved her to the back of my consciousness, thinking that one day I could pull her out and realize that dream.
I went on through life doing all the things a good mom was to do…bought practical family cars, took care of and enjoyed my family, spent quality time with my kids. I worked in my field, and created a career. We bought a house we could call our own, and with my family all around me, I realized I was happy. I had good friends, and an active social life. In short, life was good. Miata surfaced briefly now and then, but was very easy to push back into place.
Merriam-Webster gives ‘covet’ this definition: to wish for earnestly <covet an award>: to desire (what belongs to another) inordinately or culpably. Their definition of ‘want’ is this: : to desire or wish for (something): to need (something)
I did not spend my life all those years thinking only of Miata. I learned to make light of my want, making jokes about God sending me one, and I have written articles with that wish in them as well. I have also used the wish for Miata in some of my Sunday School lessons…because there is truly a lesson in my story.
You see, while I did want Miata, I did not covet her. That’s right, and I didn’t even realize that truth about myself. When I saw one going down the road, I would think, ‘how cute’. But while I joked about needing and wanting one, I didn’t ever, in all that time, try to manipulate things to the point that I could have one. I accepted that I could not have it. Miata was not the most important thing…my family was. Life was good without Miata.
The kids are grown, and the grandkids almost so as well. Recently my husband suggested it was time for Miata. And last week I realized my dream, and Miata is now parked in my driveway. I do ‘love’ her, but I do not, nor ever did, covet her. I wanted her. I see now what a huge difference that is. We want good things, for our children, for others, and for ourselves. But if we covet, we will do things, ungodly things, to attain that which we must have. We are in danger of replacing God with that ‘thing’ we must have. I am proud to say I did not covet. But as in all things, God has been faithful, and I am grateful for this little blessing. If He had never brought Miata to me, I would have been fine. I have enough in my life to be fulfilled and content. I have God.
‘Every good and perfect gift comes from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.’ James 1:17 (NIV)