The graves of the craving

Americans like to have ‘more!’  One example is the size of a ‘fast food’ meal – hamburger, fries, and beverage – which is now two times larger than it was in 1975.  Our waste disposals overflow with stuff no longer wanted or needed, things once treasured, now junk.  Consumer debt is growing once again as we borrow more to buy more. Yes, I know – it is hard to say “enough!”

But, the consequences of unchecked appetites for more are serious. America’s number one health issue is obesity and the many complications that come from carrying all those excess pounds.  Financially, millions are slaves to credit cards that are maxed out, to mortgages that ‘eat’ too much of their income, to car payments that are unsustainable.  

The ancient Israelites left Egypt, led by God’s Spirit, under His care yet they too struggled to understand what was enough. Remember His provision for them? Every morning God sent “manna” a perfect food that sustained them, but it was not enough. Soon they complained about having no meat. What happened?

Now the Lord sent a wind that brought quail from the sea and let them fall into the camp and all around it! For many miles in every direction from the camp there were quail flying about three feet above the ground. So the people went out and caught quail all that day and throughout the night and all the next day, too. No one gathered less than fifty bushels! They spread the quail out all over the camp. But while they were still eating the meat, the anger of the Lord blazed against the people, and he caused a severe plague to break out among them. So that place was called Kibroth-hattaavah—“the graves of craving”—because they buried the people there who had craved meat from Egypt.” (Numbers 11:31-34, NLT)  They choked to death on the abundance that came their way.

That phrase ‘graves of the craving’ echoes in my mind as I consider the abundance that surrounds me. Let’s be clear. There is nothing wrong with abundance or enjoyment of the blessings of life. But, we need to learn the discipline of knowing when to say to ourselves that we have had enough. That brings us an even greater blessing – contentment!

The New Testament Greek word for contentment is autarkes – (pronounced ow- tar- kace) which means to be sufficient to one’s self, to live without external comparisons.  In other words, to know how to say to ourselves, that’s enough!  

Paul wrote from the desperately difficult situation of a Roman prison and yet listen to his testimony. “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 everything through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:11-13, NIV)  His love for Christ and the life of the Holy Spirit in him gave him the ability to live with contentment – even in a prison. 

Don’t confuse contentment with apathy – “I just don’t care.”
Don’t confuse contentment with resignation – “I give up.”
Don’t confuse contentment with bitter resentment – “I am miserably isolated.”

Contentment flows from deep faith that makes Jesus Christ the center of life, that makes Him the meaning, the purpose, the hope of our existence. In Him, we can find personal peace that frees us from constant craving for more, that allows us to stop comparing our lives to others, that gives us the ability to know what is enough for ourselves.  Paul points to this key – “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.”  Too often we rewrite that to say, “I can have everything I want because Jesus will give me all my desires.” 

Are you struggling to know how much is enough, confused by the offers of happiness that supposedly will be found when you have more?  Jesus is enough! Really, He is. Trust Him with who you are, where you are, what you are going through today. Let Him speak to the stormy emotions with His peace.

Here is the word from the Word
“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.”
So we say with confidence,
“The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.
What can man do to me?”
(Hebrews 13:5-6, NIV)

(Video of this blog at this link)


I Speak Jesus

I just want to speak the Name of Jesus
Over ev’ry heart and ev’ry mind
‘Cause I know there is peace within Your presence
I speak Jesus

I just want to speak the Name of Jesus
‘Til ev’ry dark addiction starts to break
Declaring there is hope and there is freedom
I speak Jesus

(‘Cause) Your Name is power
Your Name is healing
Your Name is life
Break ev’ry stronghold
Shine through the shadows
Burn like a fire

I just want to speak the Name of Jesus
Over fear and all anxiety
To ev’ry soul held captive by depression
I speak Jesus

Shout Jesus from the mountains
Jesus in the streets
Jesus in the darkness over ev’ry enemy
Jesus for my fam’ly
I speak the holy Name Jesus

Abby Benton | Carlene Prince | Dustin Smith | Jesse Reeves | Kristen Dutton | Raina Pratt © 2019 Here Be Lions Publishing (Admin. by Integrity Music)

Integrity’s Praise! Music (Admin. by Integrity Music)

CCLI License # 810055

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