Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis is the Proistamenos of St. John Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa, FL. Fr. contributes the Prayer Team Ministry, a daily reflection, which began in February 2015, has produced two books, “Let All Creation Rejoice: Reflections on Advent, the Nativity and Epiphany” and “The Road Back to Christ: Reflections on Lent, Holy Week and the Resurrection.”
Listen Now. We will now be including the daily reading of Epistle and Gospel with The Prayer Team.
You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant, or his maidservant, or his ox, or his ass, or anything that is your neighbor’s. Exodus 20:17
Good morning Prayer Team!
Today we get to the last of the Ten Commandments, the one that speaks about coveting. I would venture to guess that gossiping and coveting are the sins we commit the most. And coveting seems to happen more as our society has the “keeping up with the Joneses” attitude. We are obsessed with the latest gadgets and technology. In past generations, where technology wasn’t changing by the day, there wasn’t pressure to keep up, or as much jealousy over who has what new things.
We also live in an age of “entitlement.” Many people feel entitled to certain things. And to get those things, they will often harm other people. We are not generally happy for other people’s successes, especially if those successes are greater than our personal successes. And many times we will harm the reputation of someone in order to advance ourselves.
Finally, there seems to be despondency and anger towards God about our station in life, when we perceive that we should be ahead at whatever stage of life we are at. And then we turn our anger towards Him, blaming Him for not helping us. We also wonder at times if we’ve lost His favor. This of course, is not the reason that bad things happen to us. God wants only good, and if it is not good, it is not from God.
The antidote to jealousy is gratitude. Rather than always looking and thinking about the things we don’t have, gratitude focuses us on being thankful for the things we do have. The first sin committed by Adam and Eve was a combination of the first commandment—You shall have no other gods before me—and this commandment-You shall not covet. Adam and Eve wanted the tree they were forbidden to touch and they put that ahead of God. When we put God first, it is easier to be grateful. When we are grateful, it is easier to keep God first.
Points to ponder on this, the last of the Ten Commandments:
Have I looked with envy jealousy or hatred toward the possession talents or achievements of others?
Have I desired the downfall or loss of others out of evil intent that I might benefit?
Have I grieved that God has bestowed greater blessings on others than on me?
Have I been ungrateful for what I have?
Lord thank You for the many blessings I have in my life. Help me always to be grateful for what I have and genuinely happy for others if they have different things than I have. Help me to be content with what I have. Allow me to have material sufficiency for myself and inspire me to share with those who are not as fortunate. Help me to always know that the most important things in life are not material things but spiritual things. Amen.
Thank God for the things you have today!
With Roger Hunt providing today’s Daily Reading: Listen Now.
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The Revised Standard Version of the Bible is copyrighted 1946, 1952, 1971, and 1973 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. and used by permission. From the Online Chapel of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.
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