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  • Steve McFarland

Do You Think the Grass Is Greener

While riding my bike in Bidwell Park a few years ago I came to a stretch of the road covered in black caterpillars. There had to be thousands of them scattered over several hundred yards. The curious thing was that as many as were crossing from the right side to the left side of the road there were just as many crossing from the left to the right side. The sides of the road were identical, the same kind of trees and plants, no identifiable difference. It was the classic case of “the grass is always greener on the other side”.

Often, we humans can be guilty of the same folly, continually searching and never stopping to appreciate what we have. King Solomon found himself caught up in that perpetual pursuit of something new. He wrote in Ecclesiastes “Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure”. Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it. But listen to his follow up response “But as I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless—like chasing the wind. There was nothing really worthwhile anywhere”.

For the caterpillars not only was their migration futile it was also perilous. It was impossible for me to avoid riding over some of them and considering that hundreds of bicyclists use that road daily I’m sure many more died. While our continuing drive for more may not harbor a potential death sentence it can be perilous. In rushing to get we may neglect what we got. Our relationship with family, friends, and God often suffers. Our lack of contentment can torment us daily.

The Apostle Paul made this remarkable statement in his letter to the Philippians; “ I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little”. What amazing freedom! Not to be shackled to possessions, nor circumstances, for a sense of contentment.

What was Paul’s secret? He revealed it in the next verse; “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” He said he had learned how to be content. Jesus said learn of me, and I will give you rest.

Learning takes some effort. You study, you observe, and then you start putting into practice what you’ve learned. If we do that with Jesus, accepting his gift of grace, learning the principles he taught and lived, then strive to live that way also you will find real contentment.

Pastor Steve

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