All the days of the afflicted are evil,
but the cheerful of heart has a continual feast.
 Better is a little with the fear of the LORD
than great treasure and trouble with it.
 Better is a dinner of herbs where love is
than a fattened ox and hatred with it.
There have been a number of times in my life when Heidi and I began to be jealous of other people because of their stuff. It’s an human emotion that all of us struggle with at times. Usually it happens like this. We will be at a huge, awesome house. As we walk through the house I can see the look on her face. I know that look, it is the look that says, “I wish we could live in a house like this.” As I look around I begin to feel guilty that I can’t provide a house like this for my family.
We will continue to look around with awe, wishing we could make enough money to have all this stuff — and then it hits us, how rich and blessed we really are. Some of these homes we look at have fathers who spent multiple hours at work, or traveling around the world, that they were never home with their kids. Sometimes the couples were so career minded that they didn’t have children. Others were so focused on the stuff of life, that they discarded God altogether.
It is at these times that I truly understand these verses. We will begin to think of our wonderful kids who have brought so much to our lives. We will think of those little times we have together watching a movie, or taking a walk, and hanging out with our family. We will think of the richness of knowing Jesus Christ, and realize that no matter how much stuff someone else may have, their riches are nothing compared to the blessings God provides! Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that we are poor. God has blessed us financially. In fact, every American is rich when compared to most of the world. Our problem is that we tend to compare ourselves with people who have more than us, rather than being grateful for what we do have.
It truly is better to have little on this earth with Jesus, than to be extremely wealthy without Him. It is better to eat vegetables or herbs (associated with a poor man’s meal) with a family that loves you than to have it all and have no one to share it with. If your goal in life is to get all the stuff you can, I can honestly say that you will have a miserable existence.
As humans, we will still have times when we get a little jealous of other people’s stuff. But it doesn’t take long for God to remind us how special He is, and how rich we truly are when we have Him in our lives.