Actually, I don’t have a sense of needing anything personally. I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am. [Philippians 4:11-13 (MSG)]
Before going grocery shopping, smart shoppers take an inventory of their cupboards to see what is missing. That’s fine when going to market, but it’s not a wise policy when we assess our lives. It’s far too easy to spend time thinking about what we don’t have instead of being thankful for what we actually do possess.
When a friend took me on a tour of her magnificent new home, she kept mentioning the furniture she’d ordered months ago that hadn’t arrived, the incomplete landscaping, the bare walls waiting for pictures, and other finishing touches that still needed to be done. I sympathize since there’s an empty corner in our den waiting for the chair we ordered a year ago and the landscaper still has not laid the promised mulch. Nevertheless, I was struck by how little she was enjoying what, for most of us, would be our dream home. Where was the enthusiasm, joy, and appreciation one would expect her to have? She seemed oblivious to the fantastic view, fine craftsmanship, and all of the beautiful new things that already surrounded her. In the midst of a home worthy of a spread in House Beautiful, she only saw what was lacking.
But then, are any of us that much different? It is incredibly easy to focus on what is missing – be it money, phone calls from the kids, granite countertops, compliments from the spouse, the latest iPhone or Apple watch, premium channels on TV, a grandchild, or one of those Instant Pots does just about everything but wash the dishes! It seems we always want something more, new, different, bigger, or better. Beware, hiding behind that spirit of discontent lurks Satan. Instead of focusing on God’s provision with appreciative hearts, the enemy wants us to focus on our deficiencies.
Satan started that ploy with Eve and continues with it today. She and Adam lived in a perfect world where they could enjoy everything but the fruit of one tree. Did Satan have her look at all she had? No! He had her look at the one thing she didn’t possess so that, rather than appreciation and thanksgiving, her heart was filled with discontent. We continue down the slippery slope of discontent whenever we focus on what we don’t have instead of seeing what we do. Today, instead of an inventory of what we’re missing, how about taking an inventory of our many blessings? Thanksgiving shouldn’t be limited to one day in November; it should be every day!
Thank you, God, for your abundant provision in our lives. Open our eyes to see your blessings and give us grateful hearts for them. Whether we live in abundance or need, may we always remember that you alone are the true source of joy and contentment in our lives.
All our discontents about what we want appear to me to spring from the want of thankfulness for what we have. [Daniel Defoe]
Satan wants us to constantly focus on everything that is wrong with us and look at how far we still have to go. But God desires for us to rejoice in how far we have already come. [Joyce Meyer]