By Rev. Phillip Leo, Church Communications Director
I’ll never own a Tesla. Truth is, if there’s ever to be an electric vehicle in my future, it’ll have to be a Kia or Hyundai.
But I still want a Tesla.
Tesla cars are the future right now. Not only do they run free of oil and gas, but they’re also the coolest looking cars on the road. Oh yeah, and the fastest too. By my count, a Tesla car can’t be topped. I see one and I stare.
Every. Single. Time.
Does this make me shallow? Materialistic? Insecure? Maybe. But has my fixation on Tesla crossed over the line to coveting? Should I be repenting?
It depends on whether I just want the car itself, or if my obsession is really about achieving the cool-factor I attribute to Tesla owners. The act of coveting is personal. Without another human on the other end of something I don’t own, coveting is impossible.
In fact, coveting isn’t even about attaining the object of our desire. Instead, its unbridled goal is to supplant one’s own meagerly regarded life with that of another whose life is highly regarded.
Left unchecked, human covetousness creeps all the way to wanting to become like God. This desire stewed in Adam and Eve as they listened to the serpent’s whisper in the Garden of Eden: “For God knows…you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:5)
Truth is, this is the root of our own covetousness. It’s about grabbing as much significance and power as we can — even if it belongs to God.
Using this lens, the stakes of covetousness couldn’t be higher. The psalm writer discovered this after scorning his own life in favor of the lifestyles of the rich and famous. “Surely, in vain I have kept my heart pure,” he despairs. “Every morning brings new punishments” (Psalm 73:13, NIV).
But when he came to his senses, the psalmist realized just how close he came to losing his soul. “My feet had almost slipped,” he exclaims. “I nearly had lost my foothold!” (Psalm 73:2, NIV)
To me, this cautionary tale serves as a red flag. I’d better be crystal clear about why I want a Tesla. Any deformed desire on my part would be a strong indicator that my living is founded on sinking sand – instead of on Christ alone.
I’m nearly positive, however, that my Tesla dream is driven by practicalities, not personalities. And like I said, any electric vehicle in my future will have to be a Kia or Hyundai.
But I still want a Tesla.
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Rev. Phillip Leo is the Church Communications Director at Barnabas Foundation. Read Phil's online bio.