“A person who is full tramples on a honeycomb, but to a hungry person, any bitter thing is sweet.”
Proverbs 27:7 (CSB)
“My chocolate piano is BROKEN! Bring me another one,” said the irate meeting planner as she slammed down the phone in her luxurious downtown Marriott suite. This is just one of many comments I heard when I worked in the meeting planning industry several years ago. All 3,000 conference attendees this particular year received a chocolate piano as their “room drop” gift – a free luxury item placed in guest rooms each evening just for showing up to the conference, and this particular person’s gift happened to have a crack in it.
As a staff member of the association putting on the conference, and someone not accustomed to receiving gifts each night in her room, I was excited every evening just to come back to find an awesome gift awaiting me. In the three years I worked for the Professional Convention Management Association, I enjoyed traveling to large cities, staying in amazing luxury hotels, and receiving gifts galore just for being there. As a staff member, the work was hard, but I was always so appreciative for any gift I received because this Alabama girl did not grow up getting everything I wanted.
The attitudes displayed by the irate meeting planner and myself illustrate what Solomon is saying in Proverbs 27:7 – when we are accustomed to getting everything we want and more, we are not appreciative of anything; however, when we don’t have much, everything, even the “bitter” things (like a broken chocolate piano), can bring us contentment.
In this sense, the “poor” seem to have an advantage over the “rich” in that they can find happiness even in little things, and more so in difficult things. To be “poor” doesn’t have to be a monetary thing. In the Beatitudes, Jesus tells us that the “poor in spirit,” that is those who are humble, will be blessed. They will find true contentment and joy (Matthew 5:3), and God will give them grace (James 4:6).
As I remembered the chocolate piano story, it caused me to think about my life now – my husband is a wonderful provider and I can say I am a “kept woman.” Still, there have been times when something did not go as well as I would have liked, or my expectations in a given situation were not met, and I became mad and complained. But Solomon’s observation that the poor can find sweetness in bitter things reminds me that this life is not all about me, and a little humility and gratefulness can go a long way.
Let us make a pact to always remember, regardless of how much we acquire in this life, that God is the giver of all good gifts (James 1:17) and that we aren’t owed anything. Let’s not let unreasonable expectations create pride and allow a sense of entitlement to creep into our lives. We should appreciate all that we have, even when life is difficult. Even in the most bitter aspects of our lives, we can often find a silver lining if we will only look for it. When we remain humble, and grateful, God gives us the supernatural ability to find sweetness in the bitter things.