It is human nature to want what we can’t have. I want my loans paid off. I want to buy trendy clothes. I want to be stylin’ in my shoes. But sadly, or maybe gratefully, I can’t pay off my loans; I can’t afford the New York style of clothes; and well, I can only wear one pair of shoes at a time.

To want isn’t really a bad thing, to want in excess is where we as Americans get into trouble. It was the want for something more that lead us West. It was the want to save lives that developed penicillin. It was the want to be connected world wide that lead us to the computer. It’s not bad to want. But wanting can take us over. There are two commandments that help us keep our wants in check—the Ninth Commandment: “Thou shall not covet your neighbor’s wife;” and the Tenth Commandment: “Thou shall not covet your neighbor’s belongings.” These two commandments teach us to be a people of gratitude.

God asks that we are happy with what we have and not seek material possessions for the sake of having more. If we focus on what we have and see that all we have as blessings and gifts from God then we can be content. In our spouses and “significant others,” if we seek what gifts and talents they bring to our relationships and not focus on their flaws we begin to see how they compliment us and enhance our already blessed life. Gratitude, for the wealth of gifts in our lives—a spouse/significant other, children, friends, education, job, and even the challenges that we meet in life— is the correct response to the God who gave them to us.

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