There was a time my “wish list” was massive!
Seriously, it was pointed out to me that I said “I want…” a lot. This filled up my “wish list” with a never-ending supply of items, products, services, and a myriad of things I was determined I could not live without. Ironically, it seemed the more I had, the more I wanted.
You’d think there’d be a point where I’d say, “You know what? I’m good. I don’t need anymore.” But all by myself, there’s not a point that even crossed my mind. I don’t have that point.
All by yourself, neither do you. This desire for more is what King Solomon writes about in Ecclesiastes 6:7-9:
7 Everyone’s toil is for their mouth, yet their appetite is never satisfied. 8 What advantage have the wise over fools? What do the poor gain by knowing how to conduct themselves before others? 9 Better what the eye sees than the roving of the appetite. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.
King Solomon demonstrates something the poor and wealthy have in common: we work to eat. Whether that’s in literal terms (buying groceries) or in philosophical terms (craving “stuff”), every socioeconomic status has it in common.
As a wise person once said, “no matter how much you have, you spend it all.” Think about it: at one point in your life, you got by with less (maybe a lot less) than you do now. How is that possible? What happened? And why can’t we live today on what we did yesterday (inflation notwithstanding)?
We all share this insatiable appetite for more. But as Solomon points out, this is “chasing after the wind”. Our desire for more makes us no better or worse than any other human.
Actually, it’s a detriment to us.
It’s also a warning.
After all, what good is adding years to our life if we fail to add life to our years?
If all we do is work, produce wealth, eat, and repeat the process, it’s worthless. That’s the meaninglessness King Solomon refers to.
Instead, let’s focus on adding life to our years. People, recreation, entertainment—these are some of the things the Lord gives His people in order to bring pleasure to life. Certainly life is more than pleasure (We’ve talked about that in Ecclesiastes already!), but it certainly is not meant to be spent wanting for more stuff that only increases our desire to get even more stuff.
Try this: today, begin a few sentences with “I’m thankful for…” instead of “I want…”. When you catch yourself starting to formulate “I want”, catch yourself and think about how you can express gratitude for what you have.
If your experience is anything like mine, it’ll have you deleting items off your wish list and thinking twice before clicking “order now” to those items in your shopping cart.