by Tad Lindley
Recently I read about a couple of newlyweds who went for a walk. The young couple just happened to be passing by, and a salesman called out to them and they stopped for a listen. Or perhaps I should say, the wife stopped for a listen. Since the salesman wasn’t selling guns, boat motors, or snow machines, the husband was very disinterested. He wasn’t really paying attention to what the salesman was saying to his wife. He later wished he had.
The couple had everything they needed. If you had stopped them before they reached the salesman, they would have told you that there was nothing that they even wanted for. The salesman knew this, of course, and so he had to make them feel as if they actually did not have everything they could possibly need or want. He had to make this woman feel as if she was missing out on some great joy. He had to tell her that her life was incomplete. In order to sell her his product, he had to make her dissatisfied.
Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, “Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?”
And the woman said unto the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.”
And the serpent said unto the woman, “Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:1-5)
If the old English is tripping you up, here is a synopsis:
Salesman: Did God really say you can’t eat this fruit?
Wife: Yes, he said that if we eat it or even touch it, we will die the same day.
Salesman: (Looking both ways and lowering his voice) You’re not going to die. In fact, God has lied to you, because he’s trying to keep you from having fun. Lady, you don’t know what you’re missing. All you know is good. When you bite into this, you’re going to know good and evil.
Even though the young couple could not afford the price of the sale, she signed on the dotted line. She bit into the fruit and then passed it to her husband who was impatiently waiting for her to be done shopping. Without thinking, he too bit into it. In a few moments the complete foolishness of the man’s decision came home to roost. Suddenly they were engulfed in shame. They tried to cover up their shame by making clothing from fig leaves.
All sales are final
Unfortunately, Adam and the woman (she wasn’t named Eve until the next day, Genesis 3:20) could not exchange the half eaten fruit for their payment. You know the rest of the story, how the great tender mercy of God stayed their execution. Instead he made them throw away the fig clothing and made them a set of furs. Then he sent them out into the world outside of Eden. There would be no going back on their sin. And it was all born in Eve’s momentary dissatisfaction with life in the garden, and Adam’s failure to stand for righteousness.
Ministry of dissatisfaction
From that fateful day in the Garden of Eden until now, hell has had a ministry of dissatisfaction. It has been one of hell’s most effective tactics for keeping people from God. Hollywood and the music industry have teamed up to help us believe that we should not be satisfied with what we have. For that reason, we live in a culture that teaches us that what we really need to be happy is more things, a younger wife, a richer husband, a different location, a different hair color, a different eye color, more expensive clothing, a faster snow machine, a more potent strain of marijuana, etc. And so we can trade in our entire lives pursuing satisfaction in things that can never satisfy.
Ministry of satisfaction
Hebrews 13:5 tells us, Let your conduct be without covetousness (do not be jealous for things); be content with such things as you have. Unless we are content with what God has given us, nothing we desire will ever fill that void. If we are dissatisfied with life, there is only one thing that will satisfy us, and that is Jesus.
Tad Lindley is a minister at the United Pentecostal Church in Bethel, Alaska.