As Abraham Lincoln paced the floor amid the crying of his two young sons, a passing neighbor asked, “What's the matter with the boys?"
"Just what's the matter with the whole world, " answered Lincoln. “I have three walnuts, and each boy wants two. "
Lincoln's boys were stricken by a bug, says Avery, age 8: “God commanded us not to covet because sometimes if you can't get it out of your head, it might bug you. "
As Honest Abe discovered, the coveting bug disturbs the peace. “If everyone in the whole world coveted, there would be no peace nor kindness throughout the world, " says Sika, 9. Everyone would be “whining and complaining about what other people have, " adds Laura, 9.
The coveting bug has a sneaky way of spreading, says Natalie, 11: “When I saw the ad for the Furby, I didn't really want it. But then I found out what it did and how many people wanted it, so then I wanted it. "
"You aren't cool if you don't have this" is the motivation behind a lot of coveting, says Taylor, 10.
Colton, 8, illustrates a better response to advertising: “If you see a cool skateboard on television, you should not be mean to someone who has it. "
Easier said than done. Advertisers spend millions trying to convince us that we can't live without their products.
Courtney, 11, has the remedy. Instead of focusing on what we don't have, “we should reflect on what we do have and be thankful for what Christ has given us. "
Offering thanks to God is a major antidote against the coveting bug. Remember what the Apostle Paul wrote: “No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus" (I Thessalonians 5:18).
In addition to being thankful, Christine, 11, recommends another remedy: “God told us not to covet because he will provide us with what we mostly need, not junk that we don't even use. "
We would do well to listen to Jesus’ stern warning: “Beware! Don't be greedy for what you don't have. Real life is not measured by how much we own" (Luke 12:15).
Jesus constantly pointed to the inner reality of his life with his Father. Once when his disciples offered him food, he told them he had bread about which they knew nothing. His food, the thing that really mattered, was to do the will of his Father.
"You shouldn't set your sights on things on the Earth, but things above, " says John, 11.
Many people misquote the Bible by saying money is the root of all evil. Rather, it's the “love of money" that's the root of all kinds of evil.
If money calls the shots in your life, you're worshipping a false god. “No one can serve two masters, " Jesus said. “For you will hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money" (Matthew 6:24).
If you seek meaning and significance from things, you'll never know the overflowing joy and inner peace Jesus provides. When you ask God to fill you with godly desires, he will. The glitter of money and things will dim because you'll be enjoying an exciting relationship with him.
Kendal, 11, has been drinking from the eternal spring: “God wants you to find happiness in what you have. All you really need is Jesus to have that everlasting joy!"
Point to ponder: God wants you to find contentment in a relationship with him.
Scripture to remember: “Beware! Don't be greedy for what you don't have. Real life is not measured by how much we own" (Luke 12:15).
Question to consider: Who really owns all your stuff?
Carey Kinsolving is a syndicated columnist, producer, author, speaker and website developer. To see more material like this, visit http://www.KidsTalkAboutGod.org . The Kids Talk About God website contains free, online content for children and families. See Carey’s Kid TV Interviews. Print free lessons from the “Kids Color Me Bible" and make your own book. Let an 11-year-old girl take you on a trip around the world in the Mission Explorers Streaming Video. Print Scripture verses illustrated by child artists. Receive a complimentary, weekly e-mail subscription to our Devotional Bible Lessons.
Bible quotations in this Bible lesson are from the New King James Version.
Copyright 2006 Carey Kinsolving