Looking at this cartoon, I found myself wondering how it is that so many of us always think the grass in greener in the other guy’s yard.
The prodigal son of Luke 15 felt this way. 11 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them. 13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. (Luke 15:11-16)
This young man was in his father’s house and had all his needs met. Yet he wanted more. He believed the lie that something more exciting was in store away from his father. How often do we behave this way, thinking that God is holding out on us and that there is something better than a close relationship with God the Father and that the world offers more excitement and fulfillment than God does.
By acting and thinking like this, we create our own desperate circumstances. Then we finally turn back to God in the midst of our deepening desperation. Fortunately, like the prodigal’s father, our heavenly Father always hears our cries and welcomes us back into the family. But it would be so much better if we did not get into the desperate circumstances in the first place. Like the cartoon above, greener grass is all in how we look at it. Too often our perspective comes from tunnel vision. We focus on one thing to the exclusion of everything else. The prodigal son didn’t just wake up one morning and decide he wanted his inheritance. His problems began long before he asked his father for his inheritance and then wasted it on wine, women and song.
Once he had seen what the world had to offer and had lost everything, he then saw things with real perspective and was willing to return–even if it meant to a much diminished life-style–to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate. Luke 15:20-24.
It would be so much better if we, too, could avoid the desperate circumstances that our searching for greener grass can cause. That’s why God has given us ways to avoid those pitfalls. They include reading His Word daily, praying without ceasing, and determining to seek His will for our lives. That path will always be greener than any other may appear to be.