I love Thanksgiving – it is far and away my favorite holiday. The anticipation starts building a couple of days earlier as Sunny begins her food prep. We always have turkey and dressing, ham, cheesey potatoes, corn, sweet potatoes and homemade bread. And that’s not even mentioning all the desserts! And I love Thanksgiving leftovers almost as much as the Thursday meal itself. I’ll be eating on those leftovers for days and days — stretching it out as long as possible.
Thursday is definitely a feast day around our house. I’m always a little sad when it ends. The Bible talks about a continual feast in Proverbs 15.
All the days of the afflicted are evil, but the cheerful of heart has a continual feast.Proverbs 15:15
Most English translations of this verse read this way: “the cheerful heart has a continual feast.” But “cheerful” might not be the best way to translate this word. When we think of “cheerfulness”, I picture someone who is smiling, someone who is happy and positive all the time. But that’s not really what this proverb is about.
The New American Standard Bible has a footnote that says this word literally means “good.” So the idea here is that the good-hearted person experiences a continual feast. The writer of the Proverbs has already defined “good” as desiring the righteousness of God. So the good-hearted person — the person who desires the things of God — experiences a feast that never ends. Jesus says something similar when he says, Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied (Matt. 5:6).
According to the Hebrew scholars with the Jewish Publication Society, there is yet another way of translating this proverb: “Contentment is a feast without end.” It is describing the heart of one who has found ultimate purpose in his / her life. The Contemporary English Version is the only English translation I could find that comes anywhere close to that meaning: Being content is as good as an endless feast (Prov. 15:15).
Let’s think about this for a minute. There is a contentment that comes when we desire the righteousness of God. I like the way author Erik Raymond defines contentment: as the “gracious, quiet spirit that joyfully rests in God’s providence.” That kind of contentment is compared to a continual, perpetual feast. There is a daily communion that satisfies — a daily feast with God. That’s the payout of contentment. Doesn’t that sound appealing? It’s like Thanksgiving every day, only this is the one feast that truly satisfies.
Godly contentment is the feast without end.