As a teenager playing basketball in the early 80’s, I desperately wanted a pair of leather high top Converse All-Star tennis shoes like NBA star Dr. J wore. Those were the days before Nike had cornered the market with the “Swoosh” worn by Michael Jordan and Lebron James. I will never forget my junior year when I purchased a pair. I was convinced that I would run faster, jump higher and perform better because of those shoes. Unfortunately that was not the case, my game remained the same.
However, the belief that the “grass is greener on the other side” remained with me. I believed if I owned a pair of Levi or Jordache jeans then I would be cool like the other popular guys at school. Soon I thought if I could just get my own car or truck then my life would be complete. To be honest, I’ve never been able to completely rid myself of this unhealthy but natural way of thinking.
There is something in all of us that tends to believe that there is always something more that will bring us contentment. We buy into the lie that if we could have this certain toy, home, job, achievement, or person, then our life would be perfect. But the truth is, that’s never the case.
The hit song in the movie The Greatest Showman identifies with our struggle, as it crescendos with the lyrics, “Towers of gold are still too little. These hands could hold the world but it’ll never be enough, never be enough.”
What is enough? Is the grass really greener on the other side?
One day Jesus asked a similar question to his followers,
“What good is it if someone gains the whole world but loses their soul?” (Mark 8:36).
Jesus is reminding us to be careful not to fall in love with the belief that stuff, accomplishments, and people will bring rest for the soul. There is only one who can bring peace and contentment. The apostle Paul revealed that secret in Philippians, when he wrote,
“For 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. For I can do everything through Christ” (Philippians 4:11-13).
It is in Christ that we find the peace, hope and contentment that we desire. Nothing else will satisfy.
There is nothing wrong with enjoying the blessings of new shoes, a new home or a new job, but let’s be careful getting sucked into believing it leads to the contentment and completion we desperately desire. Let’s remember the promise of Jesus when he said,
“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need” (Matthew 6:33).