Is the grass always greener on the other side of the fence?

Years ago Erma Bombeck, prolific writer and comedienne, penned a book entitled, “The Grass Is Always Greener Over the Septic Tank.” In the book, she describes the impossible situation that paralyzed her family all having to do with a malfunctioning septic tank located underneath the front lawn of her home. She noted in comic fashion that the grass is always greener over the broken septic tank.

We often find ourselves in search of greener grass on the other side of the fence, or over the septic tank, as it were. We are reminded of this when we read the story of Lot and Abraham in the Old Testament. When Abraham asked Lot which portion of the land he desired, Lot chose the fertile portion likely that possessed green grass. Like us, Lot simply wanted something better.

When the neighbor gets a new car, we automatically begin desiring one even better for ourselves. We might even be tempted to desire the same neighbor’s circle of friends, or other material blessings. Green grass in someone else’s life becomes an obsession in ours if we aren’t careful.

We fail to realize, however, that even though the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, it still has to be mowed, right? With blessings comes responsibility. The writer of Hebrews reminds us, “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5, NIV).

There is an art to being content in any circumstance. Paul makes this abundantly clear in Philippians 4:12-13: “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

Paul is teaching us a valuable lesson. First, Paul acknowledged that his needs were small in comparison with God’s will though he spent much of his ministry enduring horrific torture and imprisonment. Second, he reminds his readers that he has experienced both ends of the spectrum – living an abundant life, or one in need. Regardless, Paul explains in definitive ways that he is content in every situation because of God’s strength through Christ. And, it is Jesus who provides the inner strength to break the cycle of always looking for greener grass on the other side of the fence.

So, whose fence are you peering over in your life? Are you willing to set aside your current circumstance and instead trust in God to supply your needs? Make it a goal to be content in every situation giving God the glory for providing all that you need. Perhaps you will experience greener grass on your own side of the fence.

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