1 Timothy 6:6-8 “But Godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world. And it is certain we carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. ” KJV
When you get to the midway point in your life, you start to think about a lot of the things that you have worked for that now have no meaning. In my constant rush to find what I thought I needed, I let so many things get past me. I watched the movie Pay It Forward tonight. It was quite the reminder that I spent quite a bit of time paying myself. Never being content with what I had. Always searching to fill an empty space I was sure was there. I always threw a dollar into the kettle at Christmas, took a name off a tree during the holidays, put the bags of old clothes out for collection. But when did I go without so that someone else could have what they needed? When was I ever content with what I had?
“Where the soul is full of peace and joy, outward surroundings and circumstances are of comparatively little account.” – Hannah Whitall Smith
I realized recently that I have found that peace and joy. I have become content with the things that my Abba has given me. My greatest happiness is my family. With them lies everything I will ever need to be happy. When I look across the table in the morning at my sweetheart as we do our morning devotional together, I can’t imagine starting my day any differently. When I look around the room at the pictures of our children and their children, I know that I don’t need any more stuff to be happy. When I go to church and lift my hands in praise to the Lord of All, I know that I have found my place in the world.
Lest you think that my life is all happiness and sunshine, please rest assured that I still have days when fire shoots from my eyes and I say things that I am instantly ashamed of. I still start arguments because of my self righteous behavior and I still throw tantrums with disturbing regularity. Our house still gets it’s fair share of loud “discussions”. But we are quicker to say I’m sorry. Quicker to remember that I need to heed the words of Christ and get the beam out of my own eye before I try to remove the one in my brother’s eye. Quicker to get on our knees and ask for forgiveness for being less than the person He wants us to be. We will never not make mistakes. Let me say that again. There is no time in our life on this earth when we will be perfect, no time when we will not trip and fall, no time when we will never make a mistake. What we can take heart in is that with God’s help and His forgiveness and mercy, we will always know how to correct what we have done wrong, get up after we have fallen, and fix the mistake we made. We can’t beat ourselves up when we trip. We will already be bruised enough by our fall.
Let me get back to my original point which was that I am now content with what I have. My sweetheart and I have downsized our lives and up sized our giving. We always seem to have more than we need. We know that if we give what we have to God, He will give back to us more than we can ever use. I want our grandchildren to be able to break the cycle that we and our parents and their parents started. I want them to know that money is not what makes you happy. That stuff will not give you joy. That the size of your house and the car that you drive and the clothes that you wear will never make you someone special. I want them to look at sweetheart and I and say that they want the joy that we have. I want them to feel God’s love shining through us to them. I want them to know that family and friends are the most important gift you have. Make today the day that you resolve to take “stuff” off the list of important things in your life.