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Stone Column: Jealousy Undermines Our Contentment

Stone Column: Jealousy Undermines Our Contentment

It didn’t take long after Home and Garden Television (HGTV) was launched in December 1994 for the channel to soar in U.S. ratings. From preserving historic homes and fixing up 1960s ranch-style houses to flipping investment properties and revealing inside glimpses of celebrity mansions, HGTV currently boasts 45 programs with new episodes and over 250 former shows that may still air as reruns.

Since its inception in the mid-1990s, HGTV has had a substantial impact on the home industry, even amidst housing booms and crashes. We’ve seen a significant rise in home improvement and do-it-yourself interest. Back in 1994, Home Depot reported net sales of $12.47 million, which increased to $108.2 billion by 2018. During the same years, Lowe’s Home Improvement’s net sales rose from $6.1 million to $71.3 billion.

Like many others, I’ve experienced spells of intrigue with certain HGTV shows. Enthralled by preservation and renovation, I eagerly anticipate the end of each episode to see the final results.

More often than I’d like to admit, this fascination turns into dissatisfaction. Viewing such stunning renovations can activate my mental list of desired home improvements, sometimes causing a sense of ungratefulness for what I already have.

Have you ever envied a family that appears to have it all together and wished yours could be more like them? Do you sometimes compare your appearance, clothes, or belongings to those of someone else? Have you ever felt envy over a friend’s or neighbor’s vehicle or home? Advertising thrives on making us desire particular products. Big money is made by fostering discontent.

God certainly understands our tendencies. At the end of the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:17, it is stated, “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

Even young children display this human characteristic of wanting what someone else has.

It is up to each individual Christian to weigh their desires and see how they fit into godly living. Jesus and the Apostle Paul leave us with meaningful guidance. In Luke 12:15, Jesus warns us: “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.”

Apostle Paul offers insight in 1 Timothy 6:6-10: “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”

Source: Home and Garden Television (HGTV), Exodus 20:17, Luke 12:15, 1 Timothy 6:6-10