Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. Philippians 4:11 NLT
I only knew him fifteen years, but I never saw him dissatisfied.
My mom’s dad—Pappy we called him—died a few weeks after I turned fifteen. Although I only knew him a short time, I never detected dissatisfaction in his life.
My grandfather enjoyed small-farm living. He relished in his old farmhouse instead of building a nice new one. A small red tractor and field hands worked his farm. He didn’t need to go into debt to buy fancy farm equipment. Even though he owned two vehicles—a truck for him and a car for my grandmother—he bought them used. He also contented himself with hundreds of acres of land rather than thousands.
I never saw Pappy get in a hurry, no matter what dotted the day’s agenda. He rose early in the morning, sat on the porch to watch the sun rise, and then ambled down to the small-town store to talk with fellow farmers. He never drove over twenty-five miles per hour. He lived life with little, but enjoyed the most from every moment.
Paul learned the same trick. Sometimes, he had much. At other times, he had little. Regardless, he learned contentment in spite of his circumstances.
I’ve not always mimicked my grandfather . . . or Paul. I’ve piled up debt trying to have what others have, attempting to get stuff I thought would make me happy. But the older I get, the more I realize gratification isn’t about possessions.
Contentment lies in wanting what God wants for me. God blesses some with large amounts of money and material possessions. Others barely have enough to get by. Why the difference, I don’t know—and God doesn’t say. Our job is being content with what He gives.
When we learn not to let others’ demands control us—peer pressure it’s called—we’ll enjoy serenity. Only what God pressures us to have and do is important.
Contentment also comes when we want those things that advance God’s Kingdom. Ultimately, that’s our primary responsibility and the thing that leads to satisfaction, regardless of our life situation.
Nor should trials affect our happiness. They are temporary, controlled by God, and have purpose. Seeing them through those lenses helps us endure them without losing our serenity.
This year, let God teach you how to enjoy contentment, regardless of what comes your way.
Tweetable: Have you learned the art of contentment?
Prayer: Father, teach us to be satisfied with what You give us.