I was recently reading in Numbers 11, where the children of Israel have begun their journey from Egypt to the Promised Land. God had provided manna for them to eat, and was leading them with His presence day and night. They began to complain because they only had manna to eat, and they looked back at their time in Egypt with sorrow — they missed being in Egypt, in slavery.

“We remember the fish which we ate freely in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions and the garlic; but now our whole being is dried up; there is nothing at all except this manna before our eyes!”

It is easy to read their comments and cast judgement: those ninnymuggins Israelites. Hello? What about the fact that you were slaves in Egypt, and now you have freedom? You have food to eat every day and all you have to do is gather it. You are free! You’re not slaves anymore doing ridiculously intense labour! And you have a promise from a God who has already caused you to walk through the Red Sea on dry land! He is surely able to make good on His promises.

Where's your head?

But I wonder if we perhaps do the same thing in our lives sometimes? Do we see the provision of God in our daily lives as boring old manna? I think I do sometimes. The problem is that it’s in our nature to focus on what we don’t have. We look at what other people have, we see advertising all around us all day, every day. (Why do half the people who watch the Super Bowl watch it? Advertising!) We’re encouraged to be dissatisfied with what we have, and to spend money to get what we don’t have. And it’s a never-enough kind of cycle.

My encouragement in response? Two things. First, think on the things that will make you thankful. Put reminders on your walls, on your mirrors, all around you, that will encourage you to count your blessings and remember how good you really have it. Do you have food to eat every day? You have cause to be thankful. Do you have clothes to wear every day? You have cause to be thankful.

Second, consider spending less time watching TV and reading magazines which are specifically intended to cause you to be discontent with what you have. Spend more time thanking God for His great provision, and reading His Word, which will remind you of all the stupendously mind-boggling gifts you have in Jesus — for now, and all of eternity. You might have a little more joy every day, because you will find contentment with your life as it is now.

The Sermon in a Nutshell: Your heart will follow your head. What you believe about your circumstances will determine your perspective, your attitude and your response. So where’s your head these days?