You shall not covet. (Ex. 20:17)

The desire to acquire is something that seems to be natural to all God’s creatures. Birds have an innate desire to collect grass, straw, sticks, even mud in order to build a nest where they can lay their eggs and raise their offspring. And have you noticed how busy the squirrel is? He collects nuts and even hoards them because if he expects to eat when the snow flies, he needs to work hard while the sun shines.

We too have the desire to acquire and a drive to succeed. But as is the case with so many of God’s good gifts, we can abuse this desire. Our desire for acquisition can exceed our need. In other words, although we have all we need, we want more. That is not necessarily wrong unless it throws life out of balance. Or unless it drives us to want what our neighbor has.

Frankly, it isn’t just a matter of wanting what our neighbor has. In the extreme it means I want what he has, and I don’t want him to have it. Then our drive becomes a perversion of the desire God placed in us.

Instead of covetousness, let’s seek contentment. Paul reminded Timothy, “Godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Tim. 6:6). Instead of being absorbed, Paul said, “Flee from all this, and pursue righteousness” (1 Tim. 6:11).

Ask God to help you determine when enough accumulation is enough.

Ron McClung lives in Fishers, Indiana, with his wife Carol. He has written his weekly column, Positive Perspective, for more than thirty years.

© 2020 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.

Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.