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Stone Column: Jealousy Undermines Our Contentment

Stone Column: Jealousy Undermines Our Contentment

In December of 1994, Home and Garden Television (HGTV) made its debut, quickly rising to prominence in the U.S. television ratings. Today, it offers a wide array of programming, from preserving historic homes and revitalizing 1960s ranch houses to flipping investment properties, discovering ideal vacation homes, rejuvenating entire towns, and showcasing celebrity mansions. The channel currently features 45 programs with fresh episodes and over 250 past shows that may still be available as reruns.

From the mid-1990s until now, HGTV has significantly influenced the home industry, even navigating through periods of both housing booms and crashes. The surge in interest in home improvement and do-it-yourself projects is undeniable. Back in 1994, Home Depot reported net sales of $12.47 million, a figure that soared to $108.2 billion by 2018. Similarly, Lowe’s Home Improvement saw its net sales escalate from $6.1 million to $71.3 billion during the same timeframe.

Much like many of my friends, I’ve found myself captivated by various HGTV shows at different times. My fascination with preservation and renovation particularly draws me in, eager to see the final reveals at the end of each episode.

However, this fascination sometimes transitions into dissatisfaction. Witnessing such remarkable renovations often ignites my own mental checklist of home improvements, triggering a sense of discontent with what I already have.

Have you ever observed another family that seems to have it all together and wished your own family could be more like that? Do you sometimes compare your appearance, clothes, jewelry, or shoes to those of someone else? Have you ever felt envy over a friend’s or neighbor’s vehicle or home? Advertising aims to fuel these desires, making us crave specific products. Huge profits are driven by fostering our discontent.

God is aware of our tendencies. In Exodus 20:17, the Ten Commandments caution us, “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 exhibit this human trait of wanting what someone else has.

As Christians, it is crucial to evaluate our desires in light of godly living. Jesus and the Apostle Paul provide valuable insights on this matter. In Luke 12:15, Jesus warns, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.”

Paul offers further wisdom 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: Various