Proverbs 15:15-17

All the days of the afflicted are bad,
but one with a cheerful heart has a continual feast.
Better is little with the fear of the Lord
than great wealth and turmoil with it.
Better a meal of vegetables where there is love
than a fattened ox where there is hatred.

Since “The Office” just ended last night, I thought I’d remind you of one of the most awkward episodes in television history. It’s the dinner party episode. Michael and Jan are dating and are finally able to ensnare Pam and Jim into coming over for dinner. Andy and Angela come over, as well as Dwight and his childhood babysitter.

The tension is thick from the beginning of the episode, especially when the guests find out the main course is going to take 4 more hours to cook. By the time they sit down to their big dinner, the tension is palpable. No body is enjoying the meal. It may be one of the most delicious dishes set before their palate, but that doesn’t matter. Nobody’s having a good time because Michael & Jan are at each others throats. You can guess how it would have felt to be one of their guests.

It’s better to sit down to a simple meal and enjoy eating it, than it is to have the best food known to man and be at a table full of stress and chaos. It would be better to eat a plate of raw veggies in the presence of love than to eat tri-tip in the presence of hatred.

The same is true for the rest of life. It is better to have little, but live in a house that fears the Lord – a house who’s priorities are in the right order – than to have a lot amidst messed up house. If your house is full of hatred and turmoil, then maybe you should start selling some of your stuff and get the priorities of your house in the right order.

When you have a lot of stuff you have a lot to worry about. And when you have a lot to worry about you have a hard time being cheerful. It would be better to have less and be cheerful than to have a lot and be stressed out and burdened. When your focus is on amassing wealth and not on fearing the Lord, you will never have enough stuff and always be increasing in worry. But, when your focus is on fearing the Lord, you will at least be on the path toward having a cheerful heart.