My thoughts (Robert Ferguson):
Why do we seem to struggle so often to get what we think we want, only to be disappointed once it shows up? My experience suggests that most of us don’t have a clear picture of what we truly want — and what it will do for us if we get it.
I always get nervous when some person wiser than myself (usually a spiritual mentor) asks me the “what do you want” question. Like most of us I have a tendency to start with the most frivolous things; a new car, more money, or that new iPhone 5. Feeling moderately guilty and more than a little materialistic, I shift gears to things like relationship, kids, travel, adventure, and good health. Inevitably the question then becomes, “Why do I want those things and what do I hope will be true if I have all of these things?” A slightly more refined question might be, “What experience am I looking for once I have attained all of this?”
Take the money question for a moment. Who among us hasn’t sat back and daydreamed about winning the big lottery jackpot. It is fun to imagine what more money could do for us — allowing greater freedom, security, peace of mind, or providing a sense of power or accomplishment. Success!!
But how often do we stop to consider the pitfalls of having enough money to do any and everything we want? Do you know anyone with a lot of money who doesn’t have much freedom, security or peace of mind? Howard Hughes would be a classic example of someone who had loads of cash and not much freedom, security, or peace of mind.
Of course, you can always ask the question the other way around. “Do you know anyone who does not have much money and yet experiences freedom, security and peace of mind?” Mother Theresa is a great example on this side of the coin. And, just to keep it real, there are people with lots of money who are free, secure, and at peace, and those without money who aren’t free, secure and at peace.
So the question becomes, what is it that we are really hoping to experience in life?
A philosopher, Eric Hoffer, is quoted as having said “You can never get enough of what you don’t really need.” If I am after the experience of being secure, free, and at peace, is there any amount of money (or house, or car, or perfect relationship) that will produce the experiences I seek?
In our reading for today verse 15 spoke volumes to me. A leech has twin daughters named “Gimme” and “Gimme more.” Never satisfied, they never say, “That’s enough, thank you!”
Prayer for the day: Lord, today I want to say thank you for the positive experiences in my life. Thank you for the gift of life and the ability to dream dreams. Whether I have plenty or just enough, help me to always remember that your grace and love are enough!
We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the suggestions on the How to Pray page.