There is an old adage which says, “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.” Most of us have heard this all of our lives, and we understand that it reflects an attitude that is common among us. To one degree or another nearly everyone is inclined to think that something someone else possesses is better or more desirable than the thing we have, no matter how equal the two things may be.
Even animals reflect this attitude in their behavior. We have all seen horses and cows straining to push their heads through a fence line to get at grass on the other side, while standing in a pasture full of perfectly good grass! A dog will drop its bone and go after the bone that another dog has, even though there is no appreciable difference between the two. The grass is always greener, isn’t it?
It may seem a little comical to see a cow or horse exhibiting this kind of behavior. It may seem absolutely nonsensical for a dog to drop one bone to go fight for another. But they’re just dumb animals, aren’t they? None of us would ever be so silly, would we?
The “grass is greener” attitude is the source of much of the discontent, and at least some of the evil, that characterizes our world. The “grass is greener” attitude will lead a man with a good job to endlessly move from company to company, searching for that perfect position, but never finding it. The “grass is greener” is why a man or woman may desire or pursue another person, even though they have a perfectly good wife or husband at home. The “grass is greener” is why one steals from another, even though he is not personally in want. The “grass is greener” is why some end up in financial ruin trying to fill their homes with all the gadgets and trinkets that others possess, just to “keep up with the Joneses.” It is no wonder, then, that so many in the world are unhappy and dissatisfied.
The simple truth is that none of us will ever find true happiness until we realize where the green grass actually is. Some time ago a Christian writer put the “grass is greener” philosophy into perfect perspective. He said, “I think I’ve finally located the greener grass. It is in Psalm 23:2!” Psalm 23:2 says, “He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters.” This imagery is powerful because nutritionists tell us that a pasture animal that is lying down is a truly content creature.
Here is the solution to the “grass is greener” problem. There is only one place where the green grass is, and that is in God’s pasture. The shepherd’s psalm so perfectly declares this truth for us. It is utterly futile for us to spend our resources, and to spend our lives, in the pursuit of “something better” when the best is right before us in the care of our Father in heaven.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus told the people to not be anxious about their daily needs (Mt. 6:25-34). Food, drink, clothing, and the like, are not the end-all of life. They are important, of course, but God has more than demonstrated His ability and His willingness to provide these things for us. His care of the birds of the air, and of the flowers of the field, which are far less important than we, proves this.
If we do as Jesus said and, “seek first His kingdom and His righteousness” (Mt. 6:33), God Himself will lead us to the green grass. He will provide for all our needs here in life, and more importantly, He will give us a home in heaven at the end of time. Where is the green grass? It is in God’s pasture. Only there will we find true contentment, and the happiness that so often escapes us in life. Only there will we find the pathway that leads to eternal life.