Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sunday Afternoon Tea

Thou shalt not covet...  Exodus 20:17
I've been pondering the subject of coveting this week.  Perhaps as I have coveted my neighbor's hot water.  I don't know... there has to be some reason it kept popping up in my mind.

I suppose I rarely really covet, instead it would be more proper to call the emotion a "strong desire".  Coveting in its' real meaning would indicate I want what my neighbor has to the extent I'd be happy if they did not have it.  I do not want my neighbor to do without hot water so I can have theirs.

The true danger comes in when we covet (or strongly desire) what another person has to the extent we become dissatisfied with our own life and that is a constant temptation.  We are all finite and limited so we all have aspects of our life we would prefer not having to deal with.  Not to mention those blessings we wish were part of our every day living.

When we blame God for what He has allowed in our life, then we are saying we don't trust Him.  At the same time, when we become bitter and upset for those gifts He has not given us then we are telling Him we believe He has made a mistake... we obviously know better than God what should be ours at this moment in space and time.

St. Paul told us he had learned to be content in all things.  It didn't come naturally even to that great man of faith.  I have different levels of discontent.  For instance, you would think living without hot water for laundry and showers and dish washing would drive me over the edge (not to mention lack of electricity in parts of our home and fried electronics). 

But I have learned to trust God in the big stuff, those areas where it is beyond my ability to do anything about... right now I am trusting Him for the rest of the funds needed for the deductible.  I know in His perfect time it will all be available.

However, the day-to-day living can be the hardest I find to hand over to God.  For each day brings unexpected challenges.  We all have a cross to bear and I have come to realize I would not be able to exchange my challenges for those of another.  He gives the grace needed for that which He allows in each life. 

I always ask myself... when feeling the stress of a particular day is too much to handle... if I have had to feel the stripes of a jailer on my back or spent days upon days upon days in the isolation unit of a prison for my faith.  Compared to what my brothers and sisters in the Faith endure in other countries... my own challenges are not all that difficult.

He has given the desires of my heart over the years, sometimes His timing was not what I expected... as when Christopher was born when his sister was soon turning twelve.  I remember feeling as if there was someone missing from the dinner table before he was born so I should not have been surprised when I found I was expecting again.  He was such a hyperactive little guy and quite the handful but now that we have gone through the growing up years... God's timing was perfect.  I just didn't realize it at the time.

When we lay aside coveting and take our requests to Him... if what we desire is His will and in His time... then instead of holding onto covetous demands and becoming bitter when we do not get what we want... we allow Him to surprise us with answers to those desires.  The Book reminds us that if mortal man gives good gifts to his children, how much more God (who IS love) gives to us. We live imperfect lives in and amongst imperfect people... and no one more imperfect than ummm... Moi'.

Only One who walked upon the sod was perfect.  He allowed Himself to go to the Cross as a young man of thirty-three.  He could have had anything He desired.  He could have demanded thousands of thousands of angels to save Him as His own creation spat at him and pulled his beard and pushed a crown of thorns upon His head and beat him into a bloody pulp and nailed spikes into His body and hung Him on a cross to give up the body he had put on to walk this planet.

The One who could ask for anything... asked for me... and you.  We are His treasure.  We... who stomp our feet and fret and complain at what we have and complain at what we do not have but want and complain that life is just too hard at times.  He still wants us.  How could we covet anything else... even our neighbor's hot water?

10 comments:

Mrs.Rabe said...

Brenda,

Your post was for me today. Not about physical stuff, but Grace for dealing with difficulties with people, extended family members.

God has chastened me - I will stop expecting different treatment and just live in Grace. Because my savior offers it to me!

Thanks,
Deanna

Vee said...

Oh that final paragraph! Wow.

(I am praying that you get your hot water back. What is needed for that to be accomplished at this point?)

mercy mutter said...

there's so much to glean from this post, brenda. going back to read it again, try to embrace some things to memory for the day (days ahead..). thank you.

Lisa said...

I'm going to bookmark this post and read it several more times. It is so good. Just the reminder I needed today, and will probably need many times over.

Thank you.

Ann said...

Oh, how we tend to get in our little hissy fits over the everyday difficulties of life. No one ever said it was going to be easy but we make that assumption anyway. And forget our very blessed we are. Thanks for the reminder. Blessings, Ann

matty said...

What a sweet reminder, Brenda! I find myself coveting those who get to stay home and pursue their dreams. I have been very angry these days with the Great Him for my working while others don't have to. You have reminded me to be thankful for my job, my worries, my challenges, and, most of all, the one person at work who manages to push my buttons frequently. God is teaching me something through this. I just need to sit down, shut up, and listen...

I'm with Vee; where are you in the process of the deductible, dear? Won't you let some of us share with you if we feel we should? This is offered in the spirit of the first Teacher who said, "Love one another." Please?

Anonymous said...

What a powerful post!! That last paragraph alone.... .... ... What a beautiful lesson you have woven. Thank you Brenda. Sarah

Anonymous said...

Many new things happening in the lives of hubby and me...and as our own draw farther away from us, our REAL FATHER is providing others to fill those spots...we are so glad. So often we stare at the closed door, never noticing the open window! Tis best to be appreciative for what we do have, both in possessions and in people!!
Elizabeth

Anonymous said...

Brenda,
I enjoy reading your posts - especially your Sunday ones. I have to smile about coveting hot water,
electrical appliances and the like - we live in the bush of AK and have none of that stuff. :0) I am lucky, as I love doing things the 'old' ways. I know that I covet other ways and I'm thankful that you covered this area.
May God bless you and yours and I hope all will be up and running smoothly for you very soon!

Anonymous said...

i do not begrudge you coveting your neighbor's hot water. :)
joanna