Many Somali Christians have learned the secret about enjoying their lives in Christ. This secret is for them to be thankful for what they have and not to worry or be upset about what they don’t have. I have met very few Somali Christians who are bitter and upset because they think they do not enough money or material things. Those Somali Christians who are upset that they don’t have more things are not very happy people to be around. That is why King Solomon teaches us in the Book of Ecclesiastes that “Enjoy what you have rather than desiring what you don’t have. Just dreaming about nice things is meaningless—like chasing the wind.” (Ecclesiastes 6:9).
Don’t lust after things.
Another way of saying that we should try to get things that we do not need is to say…don’t lust after things that you don’t need. We usually hear about the word “lust” when someone is talking about a man lusting after a woman. Jesus teaches us “”You have heard the commandment that says, ‘You must not commit adultery.’ But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. So if your eye—even your good eye—causes you to lust, gouge it out and throw it away.” (Matthew 5:27-28). Jesus says that men who are married should not lust after women who are not their wives.
But people can also lust after other things. A warlord in Somalia can lust after power – that means the warlord wants to be more powerful than anyone else. Warlords lust after power. They want power and money and fame. They want to rule over many people and control them with fear and strength. This is evil.
People can also lust after other gods. What that means is that some people don’t want to worship the true God, they want to worship an idol or a statue. In the Old Testament many people worshipped statues or idols and God punished them for that. “The Israelites did evil in the Lord’s sight and served the statues of Baal. They abandoned the Lord, the God of their ancestors, who had brought them out of Egypt. They lusted after other gods, worshiping the gods of the people around them. And they angered the Lord.” (Judges 2:11-12).
And people also can lust after money. We all know about this. Some people wake up in the morning dreaming about money, some people go to sleep praying about money. But the Bible says that we shouldn’t lust after money. “But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.” (1 Timothy 6:9-10).
The Wisest man who ever lived speaks about lust.
King Solomon was the wisest man in the world. He asked God to make him wise and God answered his prayers. Hallelujah! And King Solomon wrote a book called “The book of Ecclesiastes”. The title means “a book of wisdom written for a group of people”.
Solomon the wise talks about many things in his book. And there are many things that he tells us we shouldn’t want, or we shouldn’t lust after. Here are some of those things:
Solomon said we shouldn’t lust after please. He said: “Anything I wanted, I would take. I denied myself no pleasure. I even found great pleasure in hard work, a reward for all my labors. But as I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless—like chasing the wind. There was nothing really worthwhile anywhere.” (Ecclesiastes 2:10-11).
King Solomon also said that envy is evil. Now a lot of us don’t really understand what envy is. Well…you can think of envy as the feeling you get when you get really angry at someone because they have something that you don’t have, but you really want. Like maybe a car, or a job, or a house or whatever it might be. Solomon says that feelings of envy are really bad for us and we shouldn’t have them. He says “Then I observed that most people are motivated to success because they envy their neighbors. But this, too, is meaningless—like chasing the wind.” (Ecclesiastes 4:4).
Be happy and content with what you have
The teacher Paul tells us in his letter to his young student Timothy “Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it. So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content.” (1 Timothy 6: 6-8).
Paul breaks down our entire desires and wants in this world to two things: food and clothing. He says that if we have food to eat and clothes to wear let us be at peace just with that. But Solomon is right when he says that a lot of what makes us do things is because we want to have what we see another person has. So we work harder, stay up later, earn more money, just so that we can have we saw another person has. This is like chasing the wind Solomon tells us. And how frustrating it must be if we keep trying to get something that we can never have.