A sluggard’s appetite is never filled, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied. (Proverbs 13:4 NIV)
Dishonest money dwindles away, but whoever gathers money little by little makes it grow. Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. (Proverbs 13:11-12 NIV)
A longing fulfilled is sweet to the soul, but fools detest turning from evil. (Proverbs 13:19 NIV)
One of the fascinating things about Proverbs is the number of different ways that Solomon can communicate an idea. He doesn’t have any fonts and colors to use. There are no colorful images or blaring sounds to get our attention. Instead, he uses words and repetition with slight twists in perspective to communicate.
The NIV uses the word “longing” when most of the other translations I looked at use the word “desire”. We all have desires or longings. We all have things that we want, but that we don’t have. Solomon does not categorize our desires as good or bad. He wants us to think about how to fulfill those desires. The concept that Solomon is describing is delayed gratification.
When I was 12 I got my first paper route. I seem to remember making about $50 a month by getting up very early and delivering papers. I couldn’t have kept at this for 6 years without my father as backup and resident window repairman. I broke about one window per year. I know I spent my money on many things that didn’t last, but there were a few things that couldn’t be purchased with a single month’s income. Money had to be saved to make the purchase. I didn’t have access to credit and everything had to be purchased with cash. Much of my money was spent on audio gear that came in kits ordered from a catalog. Delivery was not quick and waiting for the box to arrive in the mail was hard. When the kit finally arrived the number one priority was to get it assembled. My brother and I really felt good when the music began to play through our new equipment.
This kind of experience is becoming very rare, at least as it relates to most stuff. Most people I know are members of Amazon Prime and with just a few clicks, a credit card, and a 2 day wait whatever we want to on our doorsteps. Our neighbors experience in rebuilding their house is totally different. Delay has piled on delay and it has required great diligence to get the process moving. I can’t imagine how sweet it will be for them the first night they get to spend in their rebuilt house.
Satisfying desires requires diligence and perseverance because the way most progress is made toward a goal is little by little. Try an experiment. Pick something you want. Rather than going straight to Amazon to purchase it, find a box or jar or piggy bank and begin putting a little money in it every day. Maybe even put a picture of the item you want on the front of it as a reminder. Choose something significant enough that it will take months to save for. When the item finally arrives see if you regard it any differently than if you’d just bought it on a whim.
For my grandchildren:
Learn to work and save. Waiting for what you want is a good thing.