SATISFICING according to Oxford Dictionaries pertains to the decision and pursuit of a course of action that is perceived will satisfy the minimum requirements necessary to achieve a particular goal. This interesting term is a synthesis –or what we would refer to in Italian as a “mescolanza”– of the words satisfy and suffice. It basically describes the natural tendency of humans to be lazy. Believe it or not, I encountered this term when studying decision making in the context of international political relations. But it made me think, “Does the Bible say anything about satisficing?” and “If so, what does the Bible say about it and how it applies to my life?”
A particularly relevant scripture I came across is Proverbs 15:19, “The way of the lazy is as a hedge of thorns, but the path of the upright is a highway” (NASB95). The structure of this scripture is in line with the antithetical parallelism which is a distinctive feature of Hebraic poetic literature. Antithetical parallelism is the contrasting of ideas, such as “The Lord lifts up the humble; He casts the wicked down to the ground” (Psalm 147:6, NKJV82). Proverbs 15:19 contrasts the way (Heb. derek) of those who are lazy or sluggish (Heb. āṣēl) to the path (Heb. ʾōraḥ) of those who are upright or conscientious (Heb. yāšār).
Why are laziness and a hedge of thorns contrasted with uprightness and a highway?
The descriptions offered in the context the scripture suggest that laziness is foolish and senseless for although a course of action may be perceived to satisfactorily suffice with ease it is actually a course of inaction, reluctance, restriction, and hardship. In other words, satisficing hinders and hurts. Just think about this…how appealing does stumbling barefoot in a hedge of thorns sound?
Satisficing hinders and hurts.
In contrast, uprightness (or conscientiousness) is wise and sensible. Those who refuse to satisfice pursue a course marked by diligence, excellence, precision, enthusiasm. The New Living Translation conveys this contrast especially well: “A lazy person’s way is blocked with briers, but the path of the upright is an open highway” (Proverbs 15:19).
In whatever we do, we should faithfully aspire and endeavor to do it wholeheartedly in the Name of the Lord Jesus, all to the glory of God (I Corinthians 10:31; Colossians 3:15).
Wait just a minute there! Didn’t you say that it is the natural tendency of humans to be lazy? So doesn’t that mean that for us to NOT be lazy would be unnatural?
My friend, this is yet another reason we need Christ to give us a new nature. WE CAN DO WHATEVER WE DO WHOLEHEARTEDLY IN THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS ALL TO THE GLORY OF GOD ONLY BY THE GRACE OF GOD. That is why all the glory is to God and God alone–because neither you nor I could wholeheartedly serve God and faithfully walk in “uprightness”, which is adverse to our natural tendency to satisfice, of ourselves without the Divine Intervention of Jesus Christ!
Serve Wholeheartedly By The Grace Of God!