A Thought on Contentment

But godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.  But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.  Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.  For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

  • 1 Timothy 6:6-10

“Satisfied?  That is one thing we are not.  We are not satisfied. …

“We take a vacation of a lifetime. …  We satiate ourselves with sun, fun, and good food.  But we not even on the way home before we dread the end of the trip and begin planning another.

“We are not satisfied.

“As a child we say, ‘If only I were a teenager.’  As a teen we say, ‘If only I were an adult.’  As an adult we say, ‘If only I were married.’  As a spouse we say, ‘If only I had kids.’ …

“We are not satisfied.  Contentment is a difficult virtue.  Why?

“Because there is nothing on earth that can satisfy our deepest longing.  We long to see God.  The leaves of life are rustling with the rumor that we will – and we won’t be satisfied until we do.”

  • Max Lucado, When God Whispers Your Name

I have mentioned in previous posts about the little Buddhist statue or painting of a happy little guy with a pack on his back.  Many people call him the laughing Buddha, but his significance is that he teaches that Buddhists should be content with what they have.  Yet, people of the Western culture, buy one, bow down to it and kiss the guy’s belly to gain good fortune, because they are not happy with what they have.  Our treatment of this idol is the opposite of the idol’s intent, and many Christians are among those that bow before it.

I have also mentioned my wife’s and my grand adventure after being married only five months, but we made no plans for a follow-up journey.  We were broke.  Most of our grand adventures with our sons revolved around meeting family here or there.  We always seemed to be broke.  One summer though, my wife and I went on a trip to Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico (from South Carolina).  The boys were ten and seven.  My wife and I attended scout leader training classes, and the boys were totally immersed in fun activities for a week.  Since the Ranch had its own buffalo herd, we got to dine on buffalo burgers for the first time.  We also went to Mesa Verde National Park before heading home, a three-week trip – all compensation for the overtime I had worked earlier that year.  But again, no planning the next trip.  We were broke.  I don’t think constantly being broke led to much contentment, just no thoughts of the next trip.

And as for wanting to be a teen, adult, married, with kids?  I just wanted to be in a position in life when there wasn’t some bully who wanted to do me bodily harm – even a few in adulthood.  Again, a lack of contentment, but Max Lucado’s progression seems to be far from what my thoughts were at the time.  Although, once I was married, kids were on my wife’s and my minds.

It took me a lifetime to learn how to be semi-content.  I am content, but the grandchildren live too far away.  I’d also like to have a house of my own, rather than renting.  Those are my wife’s two concerns regarding contentment as well.  But in the realm of long-range planning, Lucado is on the money when my wife and I look to the distant future.  We wish to see the face of our Savior and melt into His arms in a loving embrace.

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

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