9It's better to be ordinary
and have only one servant
than to think you are somebody
and starve to death.
10Good people are kind
to their animals,
but a mean person is cruel.
11Hard working farmers have more
than enough food;
daydreamers are nothing more
than stupid fools.
12An evil person tries to hide
good people are like trees
with deep roots.
Here’s a strange thought. Imagine if Solomon could see just a few minutes’ worth of television commercials. Okay, it would blow his mind, but once he got past that, I wonder if he would key in on a theme that runs deeply through our consumer culture.
In today’s verses, he’s warning against envy and dissatisfaction. Even 3,000 years ago, people yearned to be better than “ordinary,” to dream about a life of riches and, for some, to take whatever steps necessary to get it, no matter what.
It would seem it is human nature.
But in our time and, particularly in North America, we are encouraged to be dissatisfied. Think about it. Back to the TV, In order to create a need for products, companies tell us our laundry is not white enough, and our food is not good enough. We’re too fat, and we could be far better parents – more like those perfect and happy people with the delightful children.
Advertising works – that’s why companies spend gobs of money doing it. We are easily tempted to want more.
Godly wisdom doesn’t change with the ages, so Solomon would say his advice still stands: be careful of envy and dissatisfaction with life; it leads to bad places. Instead, focus on the life God has given you, being kind to all – even to animals. It’s better to be “ordinary” (v 9). Besides, as bearers of the Lord’s image (1 Corinthians 15:49), we’re not ordinary to him anyway. All that other beautiful, perfect stuff that seems to make the lives of others richer . . . well, it doesn’t matter; it may just be masking ugliness anyway (v 12).
Heavenly Father who created us in your image, thank you for reminding us of who we are. Please give us the wisdom to know when the spirit of dissatisfaction creeps into our thoughts. In Jesus’ name, Amen.