“There are three things that will not be satisfied‚ four that will not say‚ ‘Enough’: Sheol‚ the barren womb‚ earth that is never satisfied with water‚ and fire that never says‚ ‘Enough’” (Proverbs 30:15b-16).
This proverb is no idle tidbit. We are supposed to apply it. Besides death‚ a woman longing for a child‚ parched ground‚ and a raging fire‚ there is one more thing that all too often cannot be filled: it is I.
The lesson of contentment is one of the hardest to learn in a prosperous land. Instead of satisfying‚ in-crease only seems to whet the appetite for still more.
What is wrong? For starters‚ we are looking for happiness in things that cannot satisfy. The new wears off too fast. Technology breeds obsolescence. I get hungry again . . . and tired of the same old thing.
The Preacher realized this long ago: “All a man’s labor is for his mouth and yet the appetite is not satisfied.” “He who loves money will not be satisfied with money‚ nor he who loves abundance with its income” (Eccle-siastes 6:7; 5:10). Contentment goes hand-in-hand with our relationship with God (Hebrews 13:5).
Another problem is our measuring stick. Too often contentment is based‚ not on what we have relative to our needs‚ but what we have relative to what others enjoy.
Jesus once told a story about some farm hands who hired on for day work (Matthew 20:1-16). That evening they received the promised pay‚ yet they became disgruntled. Why? Because some who came to work later in the day received the same amount they did. The early workers were perfectly content with their pay until they saw others getting more proportionately.
It does us little good to apply this teaching to athletes who sign lucrative long-term contracts‚ only to refuse to play two or three years later when they are no longer the highest paid player on the team or in the league at their position. No‚ we need to bring things closer to home.
My house was fine until I visited your larger one. I liked my car until I rode in your nicer one. I was satisfied with my raise until I heard you got a bigger one. Now it is more difficult to say‚ “Enough.”
During this season of thanksgiving, are you honestly grateful for your blessings? Do you think you will ever get to the point in life where you will look at what you have and say‚ “It is enough”? How far away are you now?