by Nik Nilsson
You know what’s a cool word? “Covet.” I like it because it’s so… Biblical. We don’t use it in everyday sentences because it’s in the category of “thee” and “thou,” and outside of those gatherings where people wear period costumes and shoot rubber arrows at each other, it’s just not said.
Not that it wouldn’t be fun to throw out a “yea, verily” during a business meeting.
“Nik, did you get those documents collated?”
Hang on, I gotta make a note…
What makes “covet” such a cool word is the joy it provided those of us fortunate enough to have read the Ten Commandments in the King James Version of the Bible and noted its proximity to a certain three-letter word meaning “donkey.” You snickered, don’t deny it!
But the commandment itself seems so innocuous, doesn’t it? “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that belongs to your neighbor.” Next to things like “thou shall not kill” and “thou shall not steal,” it seems positively harmless. At first I wondered why it was in there at all… what’s the harm in coveting something as long as you’re not going to swipe it later?
But then I look around and see an entire world, a whole society structured around covetousness (which, by the way, is a real word). It’s the very lifeblood of the modern corporation, the reason advertising companies exist. Without our covetous nature, we wouldn’t have to replace our cars every time something prettier came along; we wouldn’t need a bigger backyard or a walk-in closet for all our shoes, and we wouldn’t be going crazy counting carbs and calories in order to look like the cover of a magazine. Well, not literally the cover of a magazine. That would be a rectangle.
How distracting it all is, and how empty! How it detracts from what’s important; family, friends, God, all take a backseat to the daily grind, and don’t get me started on the lease payment for that backseat! We buy what we’re told to buy, not just because the television says so, but because we don’t want to fall behind. We don’t want the oldest car on the block, and we want the block itself to be in a part of town that makes people say, “Yup, he’s doing all right!”
Of course, by “we,” I do not refer to myself. I mean, as a Christian I’ve found enlightenment, a higher plane if you will. I’m free of such heathen distraction and can concentrate on the important things in life. As long as I have my Bible, a nice cup of coffee, and the means by which to convey my family to and from church on Sundays, I’m all good. It’s a simple life that I lead. I value God and family above all, and am content with what’s in front of me.
Speaking of family, we took a small trip to visit my sister-in-law last long weekend and had a great time. The evenings were filled with joy and mornings were a time of peace and reflection, where we sipped coffee and spoke of life. The coffee was incredible, too, this organic stuff whose smell alone made you salivate. Just the memory of it is making the cup in front of me taste like biodiesel. I wonder where she got it…
Nah, it’s just coffee. It’s not like the stuff I have isn’t good enough. Except… forget it, I’ll just have tea for now. The grocery store will be open tomorrow. Maybe I’ll pop down and see what they have in the gourmet aisle.
Sorry, I was talking about my weekend. It was a great visit, especially on Saturday when the whole family came round. There was wine and bread and ham (sorry Peter) and pie! My brother-in-law to be, an avid off-roader like myself, brought his brand new FJ Cruiser four-by-four to the party. Shiny and blue it was, and I remember it sitting in the driveway, its halogen eyes boring into me, whispering to me that it needed to get away for a bit, to hit the road. Puppy-dog eager and sparkling in the sun, it beckoned. Its tires didn’t even have dirt on ‘em yet, and it spoke to my very soul of remote logging roads and high mountain trails.
I snapped. Through craftiness, cunning, and no small amount of pleading, I managed to negotiate the keys from my brother-in-law and take that beautiful machine onto the tarmac. As I sat behind the wheel and inhaled the new car smell, memories flooded back to me, memories of days on the trail, nights camping on rugged hillsides and long, cool afternoons pushing friends into even cooler mountain streams. Yea, verily, those days came back and I found myself daydreaming, wondering what it would be like to have an FJ Cruiser of my own, climbing mountains at my whim and setting up camp far from the crush of civilization. Yea!
Um, where was I? Oh, covetousness! Or something.
Look, I know what you’re thinking. But as a man of common sense, I know the FJ isn’t for me right now. I’m in the city, after all, commuting in solid traffic and coping with ever-increasing gas prices. Nah, it’s a little Mazda for me and a minivan for my wife and kids. This Christian knows his priorities and knows that coveting a vehicle is just silly. Silly! I’ve got what I need and it’s great. I’m so happy!
I mean, what would Jesus drive, right? Not an FJ cruiser! No, of course not. Would he? Bah, what do I know?
That FJ had a really nice stereo.
For more information visit Nik Nilsson’s website at www.smallisthegate.com