During Convocation this week we read Ecclesiastes 6:9, “Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of the appetite: this also is vanity and a striving after wind.” (ESV) I must confess that when I first read this verse years ago, I did not understand it. Like many good things, I had to read the verse several times and think deeply before it would yield its meaning. The “sight of the eyes” is what we can see in front of us. It is what God has given to us. The “wandering of the appetite” is wishing for something we do not have, something God has not provided.
Solomon tells us that wishing for something other than what God has given is vanity. I encouraged our children to be content with God’s provision. When we entertain a “wandering appetite,” we are telling God that what He has provided is not good enough. We are telling the world that our God is not great. Sometimes we sit down to dinner and complain about the food mom has made, wishing for something else. Our teenagers might wish for different parents, a different car, or a different body, but there is great contentment, joy, and lifelong satisfaction that comes from contentment with what God has given that we cannot change. The ancient wisdom of Solomon is good for us today. People who are not distracted by discontent have the mental resources and confidence to do great things with what God has given, making a difference in the world.