The Unhappy Farmer and His Unhappy Neighbor
There was once a man who lived on a very large farm. He was a simple man who dressed in plain overalls. His wife and children all helped him on the farm. There were always fields to plow and a garden to weed. There were cows to milk and eggs to be gathered. His home was a typical white farm house with a wrap-around porch that had been passed down to him from his father and grandfather. Huge oak trees sheltered the house from storms and sun. He owned a Ford Escort which he used to make infrequent trips to town. All in all he made a good living.
Across the road from the farmer lived the CEO of a very important company in the city. He lived in a three story brick home with all the most modern accoutrements signifying great wealth. His wife had no need to work so she did volunteer work in town and play in the local tennis club. His wore the most expensive suits. He owned the latest model BMW, his wife drove a Jaguar and they leased an Escalade for their teen-age son. All in all he made a good living.
The CEO came home every evening and looked across the road at the farmer’s spread. One particular evening they saw each other and sent each other a formal wave and smile. The CEO thought to himself, “He is always smiling. He must be so happy. His life is so simple. I wish I could spend my days smelling fresh cut hay and milking cows instead of managing people. How did I ever allow my life to get so complicated? How I’d love to have a simple life like his.”
The farmer happened to be in his front yard on this particular day and he saw his neighbor arriving home in his sporty car. The farmer thought to himself, “He is always smiling. He must be so happy. His life is so exciting. I wish I could spend my days as an important executive telling people what to do instead of milking cows. How did I ever allow myself to be enslaved to this simple life? How I’d love to live an exciting life like him.”
Both the unhappy farmer and the unhappy CEO thought the other was happy. They both repeated these same thoughts to themselves over and over. They never questioned their conclusions about each other. Had they happened upon the actual truth they would have realized that neither were happy. They might have understood that the source of joy in life is not your home, or your job or even your family. Ecclesiastes 2:26 “God gives…..happiness.” If God gives you joy you can be happy with any job or with any home. If God doesn’t give you joy no home or job in the world will make you happy.