What We Want

An old man worked hard ferrying passengers across a wide deep river in his little boat. One day as he was getting the boat ready for his next trip across the water he spotted a muddy lamp under a discarded tire. He pulled the lamp out from under the tire and stuck it in his boat. He took his passengers across the river. On the return trip he pulled the lamp out and dunked it into the water to clean it. A genie swirled out of the spout and told the man he had three wishes.

“My arm hurts,” the old man said. “Heal my arm.”

The genie did.

“I want to be young again,” the old man said. “Make me young again.”

The genie did.

“I want to be rich,” the old man said. “Fill up this boat with gold.”

The genie did.

The boat sank and the man died.

From time to time we all wish for things that have been withheld from us. Perhaps a lovely house overlooking the sea. We envision life in a beautiful home overlooking scenic glory as blissful…but we don’t know what goes on inside the walls.

Perhaps an exotic vacation to foreign lands (for me, a warm foreign land). We imagine the joy and think of the fun we would have—but we don’t see the stress; the sickness caused by bad water; the theft from the hotel room, the passport or stolen bank card.

Hebrews 13:5 says, “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have.”

For years, I’ve wanted my hair to grow longer. Every time it got to a decent length, the ends would need to be trimmed and it would be shorter again. With the lockdown, there are no beauty salons open and I’m scandalously bad at cutting or trimming hair. So my hair has finally grown long. And I can’t reach the ends in back when I brush it. It is so fine that it won’t stay in any kind of fastener and it gets hopelessly tangled in the wind. It blows across my eyes so I can’t see. It gets in my mouth. It gets caught under me at night. And…

We all want that boatload of gold. We forget that every physical thing we own on this earth can sink, be stolen, get old, or break. We are pilgrims passing through this earth on the way to Heaven where boats don’t sink.

Amazon.com: Stephanie Parker McKean: Books, Biography, Blog, Audiobooks, Kindle

4 thoughts on “What We Want

  1. This is the perfect example of ‘be careful what you wish for, Steph’ 🙂
    By the way, I have the same. My hair is no so long I have to keep it tied up all the time. Gone are the days of glossy, gleaming locks. Grey hair halfway down my back just looks like…well…what it is 😀
    I wish I could have it cut! Haha.

  2. Val, you are beautiful on the inside and the outside 24/7. You make everything around you beautiful. I wish I could keep mine tied up – but it’s so fine that it slips out of whatever I’ve tried to contain it in before I even leave the house!

  3. Wonder lesson to learn. I just finished writing an article about asking for God’s Will to be done. It’s how I try to remember to end my requests. “Nevertheless, Lord, Thy Will be done. It’s safer that way. God knows better what we need and what we don’t need. 🙂

    Thanks for the reminder, Steph.

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