A sigh of contentment is a rare pleasure. How often do you find yourself in this state? Maybe it’s, how often do you realize this condition of the soul? It usually takes a quiet moment with reflection.
Ecclesiastes speaks much of satisfaction, which I equate with contentment. In the first chapter of the book, the writer, Solomon says “the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor is the ear filled with hearing.” He is stating in short, they never get enough. We humans always want more. In the sixth chapter of the same book, Solomon writes, “All a man’s labor is for his mouth and yet the appetite is not satisfied.” Here he uses another of the five senses, and concludes man never gets enough. In reference to monetary gain, he writes, “He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves abundance with its income.” He concludes, as he often does, this is vanity.
Solomon does give a positive statement in verse 9 of chapter 6. “What the eyes see is better than what the soul desires.” Paul makes a similar statement when he writes to Timothy, “Contentment with godliness is great gain.” When I think of what the eyes see versus what the soul desires, I imagine children writing Christmas lists; they are putting on paper what the “soul desires”. At Thanksgiving, however, we seem to take stock of that which we do have. We hopefully articulate in some way thanks for what our eyes behold.
I quizzed my son this week, “What do you need that you do not have?” He said, “You are being tricky.” I was. We are so blessed at our house, we NEED nothing. I am hopeful many of you are in that same condition. We could make an infinite list perhaps of wants (what the soul desires), but in kind we could tabulate quite a lengthy list of blessings. Solomon also stated at the beginning of this book, “what is lacking cannot be counted.” (Ecclesiastes 1:15) I agree, we could spend a lifetime calling to mind that which we do not have. We could in contrast spend a day of sighing at the many wondrous things we do have.
I do hope that you are able to spend some quiet time of reflection this Thanksgiving Day. I encourage you to make a list of that which your eyes do see, and thank the Giver of all good gifts. I also hope we all find ourselves with sighs of contentment and give thanks.
Burning within me,