Prone to Wander

Jeff Munroe

Read: Ecclesiastes 6

Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of the appetite. (v. 9)

The adage “all truth is God’s truth” is credited to St. Augustine, and in that spirit I have kept a slip of paper from inside a fortune cookie because on the day I read it, I felt like it was a powerful word from God intended directly for me. It said: “Stop searching forever. Happiness is just next to you.” I’m fairly certain the person who wrote that had no idea these words echoed the ancient wisdom of Qoheleth.

In verse 9, the Hebrew term nephesh translated elsewhere “soul,” “life,” or “person” is here translated “appetite,” expressing the idea of a person’s heart, pleasure, desire, lust, discontent, or will. Qoheleth notes that seeing at least satisfies the eyes, but what can satisfy the soul? The point is, in the words of two clichés, although the grass looks greener on the other side of the fence, a bird in the hand is better than two in the bush. In other words, stop searching forever. God has already provided for your needs. It’s right next to you.

In Philippians 4:11, Paul says, “I have learned to be content with whatever I have” (NRSV). I’m not there yet, which is why the fortune cookie spoke so powerfully and directly to me. I need to hear this message over and over, along with another saying of Augustine: “You have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” —Jeff Munroe

Prayer: Lord, help us learn to be content in any circumstance, and to fully rest in you.