Ecclesiastes 5:10 “He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity.”
Often, with little children, it is easy to satisfy their desires. A toy, a snack, some attention or a hug is all it takes to satisfy their need. But as we grow, our desires change. The teenager needs money, the newest fashion in clothes or the keys to the car soas to not feel ostracized by their peers. Without a sense of gratitude and ability to be content with such things as they have, that one becomes unsatisfied or worse.
It is the direction our heart is turned that will determine our ability to be satisfied. If we set our hearts on things, or achievements, or fame, or power; we will never arrive at that place of satisfaction. A rich man was once asked if he had enough or was there something more that he needed. “Just a bit more…” was his reply.
That new phone, computer or electronic gadget; that bigger screen, man cave or that sprawling house with the huge yard. Our appetite for things will never be satisfied – the bible warns us about looking to the world for satisfaction.
Colossians 3:2 “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.”
Philippians 4:11 “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”
1 Timothy 6:8 “And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.”
Paul saw and knew what the pursuit of riches and the desire for power would do to him. God showed him that even in godly pursuits that our way can become tainted in the things we may want or desire.
Paul had an infirmity. Some conjecture that it was his eyes when the scales formed when he was saved. Others think it was deformities from the stoning he received. The bible falls silent as to the clear answer as to why Paul sought God three time to remove the ‘thorn in the flesh’, ‘the messenger of Satan’ to oppress him.
God did answer his request – but not in the way that he may have wanted or thought he deserved. But Paul’s response to that answer can help us all. God told Paul:
2 Corinthians 12:7-9 “And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
To be relieved of the thorn would take his focus and more importantly, his dependance on God to supply the power he needed. today, are we satisfied with what God has supplied? Or do we complain that it is not enough? Or not the brand name we would have chosen?
Is it wrong to desire things? Of course not. But when those things step in the way or hinder our ability to depend on God fully, He becomes jealous. And it is not just things that get in the way. Parents place children, people place job, career and status in between them and their relationship with God.
Would we be able to pray this as a prayer to God?
Proverbs 30:7-9 “Two things have I required of thee; deny me them not before I die: Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the LORD? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.”
Allow God to chose what “things” we should possess and we might begin to see a bit differently what is truly a blessing and what things we pursue as a curse.
Our church sought to move to a better location to better serve the community. Our pastor guided us to commit the project to that which would glorify God. Ten years later, we were able to say “Look what God did!” He took away our desires for what we might have wanted and provided opportunities to brag on Him for the supplies that only came from Him.
Our cornerstone testifies “To God Be the Glory” 2010 – a reminder to all that pass by just Who it was that gave us this building and why. Many of us will be returning to work today after a holiday of thanksgiving, feasting and family. Let us thank God for His supply and look to Him for all our need this holiday season.