It seems to me that the grass is the same on both side of this fence. But apparently these cows do not think so! “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence” is a saying with which we can all relate. We tend to want what the other has, thinking that it is somehow better. This old proverb of discontent has been shown to have some basis when looking at grass from a distance, taking into account optical and perceptual laws (James Pomerantz). But these cows are up close and do not have that excuse.
Today’s verse describes contentment as a calm and quiet attitude. Like a weaned child who is no longer needy, the contented person feels no lack. Instead of that panicked feeling that we are missing out on something, contentment looks around with peace and satisfaction. There is no need to look at that neighbor and compare circumstances. There may be a fence making differences obvious, but there is no unrest about it.
I live in an area that is incredibly well-to-do. I can easily slip in to that attitude of disquiet and unrest by looking at what I do not have. However, I also see the unhappiness, stress, and lack of fulfillment in the very same people who have so much. Their grass is greener of course. But the greenest grass is not the point of life. I would rather have a life that finds its fulfillment in relationship. And of course, the most satisfying relationship is with my Creator.
Lord, keep me content in You and forgetting what is on the other side of that fence!