By P.J. Casebolt
“Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of the desire: this is also vanity and vexation of spirit” (Eccl. 6:9).
Not only does the wisdom of Solomon recommend contentment, but the Holy Spirit also stresses the need for this commodity in the New Testament (Phil. 4:11; 1 Tim. 6:6-8; Heb. 13:5). Some cannot be content with little, and some cannot be content even with prosperity.
Children dream of fair lands where they eat what they want, play when they want, sleep when they want, and are accountable to no one. They can afford to dream. They have a place to sleep, plenty to eat and wear, and someone else to be responsible when things don’t go well. They can always turn to “the sight of the eyes” their parents.
Children will be children, but some adults have never outgrown their childhood.
A wife or mother may dream of a handsome man who will buy her nice things, whisper magic phrases, hire maids and servants to do all the chores, while she goes places and does things to her heart’s desire.
She can afford to engage in “the wandering of the desire” while she is waiting for her knight in shining armor to “take her away from all this.” Her husband is a hard worker and a good provider. She has healthy children, a comfortable home, and all the convenience anyone could want or need if her goal were to be a good wife and mother.
Her husband dreams of meeting an exciting waitress, a clerk, a successful business woman, a free spirit who is attractively clothed (or unclothed), charming, flattering, and has nothing to hold her down. She is “foot-loose and fancy-free” and would make an ideal companion to take on a vacation to some exotic land.
He thinks of the plain woman who “let’s herself go” after the honeymoon, and especially after the children came along. She’s always tired, gets behind in the housework, paying the bills, shopping, running errands and mowing the lawn. She doesn’t seem to have the time to comb her hair, put on makeup, and seldom wears attractive clothes around the house.
This fortunate husband can afford to indulge in “the wandering of the desire” while he watches TV, goes hunting or fishing, associates with the “boys” at the local hang-out, or chases other women.
His clothes are washed, his meals cooked, people brag on his children, and his financial broker (his wife), has juggled the paycheck to buy food, clothing, pay all the other bills and even have some left for the husband to spend on his favorite indulgence.
No wonder a man has time to dream. He has a queen without a throne.
The congregation has seen worse days. Times were hard when it struggled to rent the store building, buy a piece of ground, and finally build a modest but adequate church building. The congregation even suffered through the services of part-time preachers whose bodily presence was weak and their speech and manner unpolished (cf. 2 Cor. 10:10).
But, now the congregation has prospered, and it is time to think about its status in the community. It is time to dream of a more elaborate building and a “pastor” who can win friends and influence the wise, the mighty, and the noble with “good words and fair speeches” (1 Cor. 1:26; Rom. 16:18).
The congregation can afford to satisfy “the wandering of the desire,” because sacrificing members and down-to-earth preaching made all this possible.
Guardian of Truth XXXVII: 9, p. 24-25
May 20, 1993