In one of Aesop’s Fables, a ravenous fox notices some grapes hanging on a vine. He leaps into the air, but he can’t reach the fruit. Dejected, he trots off and remarks, “Oh you aren’t even ripe yet! I don’t need any sour grapes.”
Like the fox, people sometimes convince themselves they don’t want what they can’t have. The only thing worse is when people continue to pursue what they can’t have at any cost.
King Ahab might have given up on his desire for a certain vineyard if it hadn’t been for his wife, Jezebel. Ahab tried to buy the plot from Naboth, but the man refused to sell it. Rebuffed, the king went home, “angry and sullen” (1 Kings 21:4). Seeing her husband’s dejection, Jezebel had Naboth murdered so that the king could acquire his little vineyard.
King Ahab had access to almost anything he wanted because of his position. Yet he focused on the one thing he couldn’t have. Ahab’s fixation isn’t unique. Bathsheba became a must-have for David (2 Samuel 11:1-4), and Adam and Eve just had to try the fruit God had prohibited (Genesis 3:6-7).
We can sometimes be tempted to go after the things we know we shouldn’t have. We’re especially vulnerable to this “must-have” mentality when we lose sight of what God has already provided for us. Desire plus ungratefulness equals trouble. Self-control mixed with thankfulness, however, can protect us from greed.
By recognizing all that God has done for us and given us, we’re filled with a spirit of contentment—not a spirit of longing for what we don’t have or what we can’t have. Paul wrote, “godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Timothy 6:6 NIV). With thankful hearts, may we see that God provides exactly what we need!
NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Luke 17:1-19
Read 1 Thess. 5:18 to see the relationship between thankfulness and what God wants for us.
When do you feel most grateful? How does remembering what God has done for us make for a thankful, content heart?