Proverbs 17 – Cherish the Best Things

Self-indulgenceAmericans have become a money-hungry, pleasure-seeking, self-indulgent people. I believe the entitlement attitude that divides our nation and is turning us into a socialist-welfare state has its roots in my generation—the baby-boomers.  Our Depression/World War II era parents and grandparents lived through two decades of sacrifice, hardship and war, and determined to give their children “everything they never had”.  That they did, but at the sacrifice of something more important…instilling character, discipline and an appreciation for hard work and sacrifice in their children.

The “baby-boomers” have perpetuated the aspiration of their parents and instilled in their children (Generations X, Y, and the Millenniums) a spirit of indolence, self-gratification and entitlement that has brought our society to the brink of economic collapse.  Our homes are bigger, our possessions are greater; we have more time for recreation and self-indulgence than any generation before us; however, unhappiness, disappointment and family conflict abounds.

Solomon taught his son a “Better…than” principle we would be wise to heed. The king illustrated in a brief proverb the hollowness of riches and possessions when a family is torn by strife:

Dry morsel of breadProverbs 17:1 Better is a dry morsel [parched piece of bread], and quietness [peace; security] therewith, than an house [family] full of sacrifices [feastings] with strife [quarrels; hostilities].”

In other words: It is Better to be poor, enjoy a quiet, simple life nourished by nothing more than a piece of dry crusty bread, than dwell in a home of plenty that is filled with hostility. That proverb echoes an earlier “Better…than” thought:

Proverbs 15:17 – “Better is a dinner of herbs [green leafy vegetables] where love is, than a stalled ox [fat and ready for slaughter] and hatred therewith.”

Putting that verse in a modern context: It is better to enjoy a plate of greens and vegetables at Cracker Barrel with those you love, than dine on Prime Rib at Ruth Chris Steak House with family and friends who are the source of strife in your life!

My friend, money and possessions might buy you temporal joy and satisfaction, but lasting peace and joy cannot be purchased at any price! Be content with the simple life; cherish family and friends who genuinely love you.  Life is too short to chase passions that leave you empty and frustrated.

1 Timothy 6:6-8 – “But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7  For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8  And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.”