This post first appeared here in August, 2009. Look for the link to the second part at the end. Both postings were written after hearing a great sermon from my pastor.
By Friday evening I was worn down…..Dear Daughter had had a bad case of the “wants” all afternoon. She wanted to talk to me which in and of itself isn’t a bad thing, but conversation isn’t all she wanted. She wanted a snack, she wanted to be taken out to eat, she wanted a replacement pet for our dear kitty that has gone missing, she wants her room painted, and she wants to decorate it in black and white (always wanted a black and white room).
Then she wanted to drive My car over to a friend’s house – seems the friend had wrecked her car and Dear Daughter wanted to see it. No, she didn’t get to go. Then she wanted another friend to come over and spend the night. I said yes. Then she wanted to go out to eat for dinner. I said no. Then there were the reminders about her class ring needing to be paid for, and I had forgotten to order her letter jacket (for golf) once again.
After dinner she wanted to drive MY car to get some cookies. We (by this time Dear Husband was home) said no.
She argued. I blasted her. I had had it with the “Can I?”, “I want”, “Get me”, “Can you”, “Let me” direction of every single thing out her mouth since 3:30 that afternoon. I went through the long laundry list with her of everything she had wanted since she arrived home from school.
I ended my listing by telling her, “Sweetie, I think your “wanter” is stuck.”
Don’t we all do that, though? Think about all the things or situations you want right now. I bet we could fill up a page or two with all the things we want from the insignificant (removing a hangnail) to the very significant (world peace)…..from the small (a bracelet at the local department store) to the very large (a new car, a cruise, or a new home).
Yes, from time to time my “wanter” gets stuck. I get into an acquiring mode where I hunt and gather little treasures as I shop. My closest friends joke about my very large collection of jewelry, and I do seem to have a bunch of stuff. I eye my friends and their stuff, and from time to time I see something I covet and simply must acquire for myself.
Covet….now there’s a Bible term for you. Exodus 20:17 tells us in the big 10….You shall not covet…anything that belongs to your neighbor. Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t covet a friend’s possessions to the point that I might slip a lace napkin or silver creamer into my purse and walk away with it, but I do usually try to find where they got the item and attempt to purchase my own.
But is this a good habit to get into? Is the hunting and gathering of “stuff” a good thing?????
To covet means you have an uncontrolled desire to acquire. Notice I bolded “uncontrolled”……this is where the word covet takes a very negative turn and it’s the negative part of wanting something that the covet commandment addresses, and like all of God’s commandments there are very valid reasons why we need to keep our “wanter” from getting stuck.
Always wanting more causes fatigue. Proverbs 23:4 advises…Do not wear yourself out to be rich; have the wisdom to show restraint. This verse isn’t telling us that wealth is wrong….it’s telling us there is a smart way to riches and a not so smart way.
Always wanting more causes debt. For some reason our “wanters” get stuck and our wants exceed our needs and that leads to greed with a capital “G”. Ecclesiastes 5:11 states the truth…..The more money you have, the more money you spend…..
Always wanting more causes worry. This effect of a broken “wanter” would naturally follow debt, wouldn’t it? Greed leads to exceeding our needs and we can become overextended and exceed our finances as well.
Always wanting more can lead to conflict. What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from the desires that battle with you? …..so says James (4:1). Hmmmm….one of the leading causes of divorce involves money, doesn’t it?
Always wanting more can lead to dissatisfaction. You will never be satisified if you long to be rich. You will never get all you want….Ecclesiastes 5:10
No, I don’t take all the verses I’ve referred to here as a condemnation of being rich. These verses do not mean I should throw out everything I own, down-size my residence, or become complacent with a minimum wage occupation.
These verses refer to riches as in the over-acquiring of stuff and financial means. There is a fine line regarding being successful or having all you want, and you can cross that line very easily.
That is when our “wanter” gets stuck.
So, how do we unstick our “wanter”?
One way is by remembering the words of Jesus….A man’s true life is not made up of the things he owns, no matter how rich he may be……Luke 12:15
….and we need to learn how to be content. I address contentment in part two of this post found here.