Another ‘coincidence’ in my life was the day that we Started the course “Comparison Trap” by Stacey Stanley and the day I introduced the Aesop’s fable, “The Boy and the Nuts” to the writing course I am facilitating. I saw a beautiful parallel between these two, which inspired me and gave me new insight.
The verse that struck me from the teaching that Andy Stanley gave, was from Ecclesiastes 4:6 (KJV)
Better is a handful with quietness, than both the hands full with travail and vexation of spirit.
Our week 1 of Comparison Trap highlighted how we are not happy with enough, we always compare to others and want more, why are we not happy with one handful (or fewer nuts) than too much that will vex us or keep us from receiving at all.
Why do we compare ourselves to others to get two handfuls that comes with a big price to pay: Travail and vexation of spirit? Other translations talk about toil, work. We work ourselves into a state of anxiety, stress just to ‘Keep up with the Jones’s’, but we still feel discontent. When will enough be enough? Is one handful with quietness, peace not enough? Sometimes we decide in life to only have one handful, but we want to stretch that handful to its limits! Just look at the story of the Boy and the Nuts:
The basic story of the boy and the nuts goes as follows:
A young boy saw a pitcher full of walnuts and reached in to get some. He grabbed as many as he could hold, and then tried to pull out his hand. However, his fist was bulging with the nuts and he could not get it out of the pitcher. Unwilling to let go of any of the nuts, he was unable to pull out his hand. He burst into tears. A nearby man saw him crying and said, “If you will be satisfied with fewer nuts, you will be able to get your hand free. Sometimes you have to give up a little to get what you wish.”
Can we give up a little more to get what we wish for? If we wish for a quieter, calmer life dashed with tranquility and contentedness, I think we should take this advice to heart. Now, many of you might feel you are going to loose out on opportunities and on improving your life. I would like to challenge that view with an image I received the morning of the course, because I believe I need one hand open to receive God’s blessings.
Consider me. I have never been an athlete and have always been very unsuccessful with the act of running. Now I know for a fact, that if I exercise every day to improve on my running, I will surely improve, but I will never catch up on people who’s strength it is to run, no matter how much energy I put into it. I will be frustrated, unhappy, irritated by this and will not see the results and success that I see others are having. It will take me MORE energy to live up the the success to others, than to follow my own passion and purpose in life.
Why are we not happy with what God gave us? Why don’t we explore THAT to the maximum? It seems that we sometimes spend more energy to grab the glory of other people and be envious about their achievements and their standard of living than pursuing our own strengths and purpose.
Find your purpose, pursue your purpose. Be YOU and don’t try to grab more, keep a hand open for the blessings that are awaiting you.