The story is told of a crow that became unhappy with his black color. He came across a swan and thought the swan must be the most beautiful bird because of his white color and wished he were a swan. As he voiced his opinion to the swan, the swan responded by saying that it was the parrot that was the most beautiful because he had two attractive colors on his feathers. The swan said he had always wished he were a parrot. They met up with the parrot to declare how fortunate he was, but the parrot thought that it was the peacock that was the most beautiful because of his many colors and he wished he were a peacock. Together they searched for a peacock and found one in the zoo, an object of attraction but also caged in by an enclosure. As they told the peacock how they all wished they were as beautiful as him, he told them, “Every time I look up at the sky and see the carefree crows flying around, with no one wanting to cage them, I wish I were a crow”.
Man constantly wishes he had more of what he has or he obtains what he does not have. When he sees his neighbor and compares himself with him, his agony grows and he goes about life never being happy or satisfied. King Solomon’s words in Ecclesiastes is instructive-
This is what I have observed to be good: that it is appropriate for a person to eat, to drink and to find satisfaction in their toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given them—for this is their lot. Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil—this is a gift of God. They seldom reflect on the days of their life, because God keeps them occupied with gladness of heart. (Eccles 5:18-20)
To begin with, while there is a place for denial and beating the body to make it obedient to God, there is also a place to satisfy the physical hungers that man has with the acceptable pleasures that God has provided man with on this earth. While there is a place and time for fasting, there is also an occasion for feasting. As man grows closer to God in the journey toward union with God, he will find the aptitude for feasting decrease, but to deny man the simple acceptable pleasures of life is neither proper theology nor proper practice.
Man also has a drive to work and accomplish things here on earth. To be able to have goals toward which man puts in his effort and finds satisfaction in doing so is appropriate and necessary to make life meaningful. As he embarks on his journey here on life, he also gains possessions and wealth. To be able to enjoy his possessions he first needs to be satisfied with what he has. When the overriding passion in life is to have more, he fails to find satisfaction in what he already has. The tension between what one has and one needs to have, should be maintained to keep the string of life taut and productive.
Solomon recognizes that it is anything but natural for man to be satisfied with his possessions, pursuits and pleasures. He thankfully also gives us a solution- to find the anchor within a stable relationship with God. It is God’s gift for man to find satisfaction in life. It is only when one is deeply entrenched in that relationship with God (one that is brought on by forgiveness of sins and an unconditional love, the perfection of which is found in Christ) that satisfaction follows because a heart centered on God will invariably be preoccupied with praise and thanksgiving.
- MY FOOT IS SLIPPING
- BEING SOUGHT BY THE STAR