Hands holding flower - when we never get what we want

Why We Never Get What We Want

Written By Charles Christian, Indonesia

As a child, I was a huge fan of the Donald Duck series. I enjoyed reading the silly antics of the main characters, like the greedy miser Uncle Scrooge, his rival Flintheart Glomgold, the lazy Donald Duck, and his three clever nephews. But on top of the comedic elements, I loved the fact that the storylines portrayed everyday life.

One of my favorite stories was about a business rivalry between Scrooge and Glomgold, two of the world’s richest ducks. In a bid to secure the title of the “richest duck”, both of them set out to acquire each other’s companies. Glomgold managed to take over all of Scrooge’s companies—and vice versa. But when it was time for them to move into their new offices, they did not feel happy at all. Contrary to what they had believed, having their rival’s possessions did not bring them any happiness.

When that happened, Scrooge’s grandnephews asked this question as they discussed what had happened—a question that has remained with me since then: “How can you have what you want if what you want are [the things] you don’t have?”

It’s so true, isn’t it? Just like Scrooge and Glomgold, we’re always clamoring after things we don’t have. And that may be precisely why we’re never happy, no matter what we’ve attained. Today, I may get the things I wanted yesterday, but I’ll never be satisfied if I have a whole new list of things I want tomorrow. There is always something more. There are always more things to want.

More recently, I was struck by the words of a rich and famous Singaporean cosmetic surgeon named Dr. Richard Teo. In a lecture to a group of students in 2012, he admitted how money had become an obsession in his life. (He later died of lung cancer at the age of 40.)

Here’s an extract of what he said: “Actually, there is nothing wrong with being successful, with being rich or wealthy—absolutely nothing wrong. The only trouble is, I think a lot of us, like myself, couldn’t handle it. Why do I say that? Because when I start to accumulate, the more I have, the more I want. The more I wanted, the more obsessed I became. I became so obsessed that nothing else really mattered to me. Patients were just a source of income, and I tried to squeeze every single cent out of these patients.”

Solomon, one of the richest kings in the Bible, had expressed this same sentiment thousands of years ago: “Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless.” (Ecclesiastes 5:10)

So how can we stop chasing after “something more”? If possessions and money cannot bring us true satisfaction, what can? Psalm 37:4 writes, “Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

To take delight in the Lord means to be satisfied in him; He is the ultimate source of our joy. In the practical sense, I see this as finding my worth in him and appreciating everything God has given me—every big and small blessing (and even blessings I may not be aware of!) in my life.

It has been said that, “When God is the only thing that you have, you will know that God is the only thing that you need.” If we have God, we can feel satisfied and complete even if we lose all of our material possessions. David writes in Psalm 23:1, “The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.”

This does not mean that we must steer away from all physical or material things of the world. These still serve a role in meeting our everyday physical needs. But when we learn to take delight in God, our hearts will be purified and our desires will change. We will not crave or desire after things of this world. We’ll start desiring for things that are on His heart.

I’ve learned not to cling onto my earthly possessions, but to share whatever I have with others—because it pleases God. By God’s grace, I’ve also learned to be grateful for every blessing God gives me in life, no matter how small.

Missionary Jim Elliot once said, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” May we find true satisfaction in God and long after spiritual things that are eternal. May we take comfort that God is the only one we truly need.

1 reply
  1. Sammy Mwaura
    Sammy Mwaura says:

    I’ve always been of the opinion that we don’t always get what we want why the earth owns us nothing … but imagine all the super human comics getting out of circulation .… imagine lil boys panicking no more Batman costumes for Halloween !!!! imagine not hearing these famous words … it’s a bird … it’s a plane … no …. it’s Superman … no more monkey nastics swimming the ocean like aquaman leaping through the jungle like Tarzan of the apes … I could go on for a minute … that we get to fantasize about these things shows us the power of optimism … as children of the most high we get to be granted our uttermost request prayers and petitions only if we do so like oliver twist asking his school master pliz sir can I have some more !!


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