A store owner in Maine stubbornly refused to carry a new product. “You must remember, young feller,” said the storekeeper to the salesman, “that in this part of the country every want ain’t a need.”

Confusing our wants with our needs goes to the heart of coveting and explains why we are so often driven by the desire for more and more. We fail to see that life’s greatest fulfillment is not found in accumulating things but in knowing God.

The tenth commandment may seem like an add-on compared to such big-ticket items as murder, stealing, lying, and adultery, but it is foundational to all the other commandments and ensures peace and contentment. It is the only command that zeroes in on a forbidden attitude rather than an action. Yet it is a safeguard against the temptation to break the other nine commandments.

David’s covetous desire for another man’s wife led to adultery, stealing, and murder (2 Sam. 11). And a desire for more and more pleasure, power, or possessions can destroy family relationships and cause us to lie to others. And because covetousness is idolatry (Col. 3:5), it also keeps us from having and maintaining a right relationship to God.

Lord, help us to be content in You.