“Better is a handful with quietness than both hands full with travail and vexation of spirit.”
When we find everything we need in Him, we need not fret or worry about what others say or do or what might happen today or tomorrow.
What picture comes to mind, dear Pilgrim, when you hear these words? A baby sleeping peacefully in his crib, blowing bubbles while he sleeps? A herd of cattle grazing in a beautiful meadow at the foot of some towering mountains? Sitting on the seashore under a palm tree on a moonlit night while the tide ebbs and flows at your feet?
Sounds beautiful, doesn’t it?
But, the fact remains that such moments—though inviting and idyllic—are really few-and-far between. In fact, for most folks they’re only something seen in a magazine, video, television program or movie. They’ll never get to experience them firsthand, although they desperately wish they could.
Yet, Solomon. . .who was so depressed, pessimistic and guilt-ridden when he wrote Ecclesiastes. . .still remembered how things were before “his heart was turned away after gods and no longer perfect with the Lord his God” (I Kings 11:4). And, no doubt those memories still haunted and taunted him, even as David’s did when he was on the run from King Saul (Ps. 42:1-4, 6-7).
That’s why it’s important for to “stop, look and listen”—especially if we’re on the run like the prodigal son or Jonah (Lk. 15:11-24; Jonah 1:1-2:10).
And when we, like the prodigal son, “come to ourselves and realize our need to go to the Father” (Lk. 15:17-19), we’ll soon once again realize the beauty and importance of today’s Manna: “Better is a handful with quietness than both hands full, but surrounded by travail (Heb. ‘amal’—‘discontentment, toil, worry, grief, misery, great sorrow, etc.’) and vexation (Heb. ‘re ‘uwth’—‘a feeding upon, grasping after, to tend a flock, graze, etc.’) of spirit.”
Or, another way to put it is “It’s much better to be content with a little rather than having a lot and never being satisfied.”
The Apostle Paul knew that. That’s why he wrote “Not that I speak in respect of want—for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am in, wherewith to be content” (Phil. 4:11). He also wrote “Godliness with contentment is great gain” (I Tim. 6:6). And, Isaiah put it this way: “In returning and rest shall you be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength” (Is. 30:15a)
God’s “indescribable Peace” is found when we “cast on Him all of our cares” (Phil. 4:7; I Pet. 5:7). This isn’t an absence of problems; it’s simply His Presence in the midst of them (Ps. 46:1; Dan. 3:24-25; Mt. 28:20; Jn. 14:1-3, 27; Heb. 13:5b). May the Holy Spirit calm our hearts and minds today as we remember the “Secret of Contentment” is “Christ in us, the Hope of Glory” (Col. 1:27). Amen and amen.
July 16, 2011