Now a wind went out from the LORD and drove quail in from the sea. It scattered them up to two cubits deep all around the camp, as far as a day’s walk in any direction. — Numbers 11:31
Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, a renowned Jewish theologian, once said, “It is gratefulness which makes the soul great.” This is one of 12 devotions focused on gratitude during this season when families gather to give thanks. For more on praising God for our many blessings, download our complimentary study on the Psalms.
We live in a society of wanting. There is always something else to want, to have, to own. There is always something more to be had, leaving us with the feeling that there is no such thing as enough, let alone the possibility of having too much. Whatever it is that we have, we believe that there can always be more.
This is a huge mistake in thinking. We are all familiar with the challenges of having too little, but what most of us fail to recognize, is that there is also a danger in having too much. I once said this in a class that I was giving over to business executives, and one of the participants said ,“If having wealth is a challenge, then bring it on!” But while the challenge of having too much seems enticing, the truth is that it can lead us to consequences just as unpleasant as– or worse than – the test of having too little.
Just as plants need the right amount of water – not less and also not more – in order to thrive and grow, so, too, do we human beings, flowers in the garden of God, need just the right amount of resources in order to grow. Less will make it more difficult to thrive, and so will having more.
God is our gardener, and He knows exactly how much we need.
This point is driven home in the story we read about in Numbers chapter 11 about how the children of Israel complained that they did not have enough. God doesn’t punish them for complaining by taking away the blessings that they already had; rather He gave them more than they need. He gave them too much!
In our verse today, we read, “Now a wind went out from the LORD and drove quail in from the sea. It scattered them up to two cubit] deep all around the camp, as far as a day’s walk in any direction.” There was so much food to eat that the people became sick form it. The point was made – it is possible to have too much.
We all want to win the lottery, but do some research and you will find out that for many lottery winners, their dream turned into a nightmare. Having so much money caused marriages to break down, fights between family members, even kidnapping and death. Yes, there most definitely is such a thing as too much.
So let us take what we have with gratitude and thanksgiving, knowing from the bottom of our hearts that we have what we need. Sometimes less is really more, and what we lack, our greatest blessing.
Download our complimentary study on The Psalms of David for how Israel’s greatest king expressed his deepest emotions to God through his words of thanksgiving, confession, petition, and praise.
With prayers for shalom, peace,
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
Founder and President