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Monday, December 9, 2013

222: WANTING MORE

 Many of you have probably heard the quote, “Happiness is not having what you want, but wanting what you have.” Using that definition, how many of us are happy?

Too many people have more than they need, but yet still want more.. They don't want what they have.. they want more of what they don't have. Yet I know some that have actually less than they need, but yet are happy and actually want what they have (or even less) :) 

People are waking up and hoping for a better way of life. People are yearning for Zion, including weeping for it. Unfortunately, we have only a few chapters in scripture as a guide/record about an established Zion Society. We basically have 4th Nephi in the Book of Mormon. Since little has been written , I think we suffer from too many assumptions of what a Zion society is. We have lived in a culture that is completely Anti-Zion. We also suffer from slothfulness, and our self-importance. We are truly a diseased culture. The change that is required seems almost insurmountable and even unattainable. Despite all of our efforts and even after years of preaching, what the Lord can do in months and possibly with a few cataclysmic events, will create the groundwork. After his servants preach, He will do the preaching.

I received an email from friend that I want to share a few excerpts. I thought during this time of year it is especially important as we are bombarded with advertising and pressure to buy and purchase more.

The email subject line was entitled: Wanting More. 

“In 1 Kings 17, Elijah was commanded by the Lord to hide himself by the brook Cherith, where he was fed bread and flesh by the ravens morning and night, and drank from the brook daily. The Lord decided the meal plan and when it would be provided for Elijah. What was offered was enough. It sustained him, until the Lord wanted him elsewhere.

When the brook was dried up, he was instructed to go to Zarephath where a widow woman had been commanded to sustain him. When Elijah found her, she was gathering sticks to make the last meal for herself and her son “that we may eat it, and die.”

Elijah instructed her to make him a little cake first and then one for her and her son, “for thus saith the Lord God of Israel, the barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the ruse of oil fail, until the day that the Lord sendeth rain upon the earth.” I think about the faith it required for the woman to believe on the words that had been spoken to her. I wonder in what way she had been commanded by God to sustain Elijah. Was it a dream? Was it a voice? Was it a thought or an impression? Did she know who Elijah was? Did it matter? She, and her house, including Elijah subsisted for a period of time on oil and flour in the form of a cake……. And it was enough!

When the Israelites were in the wilderness, God brought forth an amazing miracle where manna from Heaven’s kitchen was provided to the entire group. All they had to do was go out and collect ONLY ENOUGH for that day. Anything more would spoil. The Israelites had a difficult time understanding the life-sustaining gift that was provided daily was in fact enough. They murmured and complained about the cucumbers and melons that were no longer items on the menu. They complained, and murmured……….always wanting more. There are profound lessons in these two stories, some of which are the power of gratitude, recognizing God’s hand in our lives, abundance and plenty in the idea of enough, and scarcity vs. abundance.

One of the great sins of our day is ingratitude, and always wanting more. We think we are entitled because we see ourselves as special or deserving, or it makes us feel better about ourselves to have more than the next guy.  

Years ago, I read a book called Wanting More. The author spoke of the fall of the Roman Empire being based on the greed selfishness of a society having more than enough, but always wanting more. The society went from building coliseums, to even bigger and better ones. And the games held within went to bigger and better ones, from authentic bullfights to bulls fighting slaves where one or the other had to die. And then to slaves fighting slaves. The people hungered and thirsted after blood and gore. It excited them for a while but eventually the wanted more. Prostitution rings were set up outside the arena, drugs, gambling, and violence all became part of the games. Their obsession with being titillated by violence and filth became more than the leaders could provide. An entire society was corrupted according to this author because of the greed, violence and unquenchable appetite of the people, never having enough, always wanting more.

I think of the simple, yet profound miracles the Lord displayed to the Israelites, and to the widow and Elijah in sustaining them with enough compared to the insatiable appetite of even our society and wonder when we will ever decide that what we have is enough and more to share. The point of the book was for us to see that happiness/joy/peace was really simple. It came down to wanting what you already have.

Abundance and happiness comes in the heart when we are willing to share the little we have. In fact, like the widow’s mite, the blessings that come from the sacrifice of sharing the little we have are far greater than the blessings that come from giving of our abundance.”