Happy with What You Have

A friend of mine once sent me the following:

"I have absolutely the best marriage of anyone whom I know. How do I know that? I don't, it's just what I feel. I am happy with my wife, my house, my car, my body, my kids, my job, my church, and my country. Sure, all of them have snags, all of them have faults, but overall I wouldn't trade them; I am happy.

‘Happiness is not having what you want, but wanting what you have.’ That's a quote that I remember from a little boy. It's true, very true. Society doesn't gear us to want what we have. Otherwise, we wouldn't buy the new and improved version. We are made to feel as though we need something different to be happy, something better.

Are there better wives out there than mine? Maybe. Even if there were and I had her, would there then be a better one than that one? Probably. There is always something better, fancier, faster, more powerful, and more expensive. Always. If not now, it's coming. Computer programs keep us waiting for an upgrade. An upgrade supposedly fixes all of the current bugs. Often, the upgrade introduces new bugs. We are in a constant state of trying to get something better and different. We are often trying to be someone different, even when the current us is pretty decent. If you are not happy being you, then who else can you be?

I neither want to nor have the ability to trade places with anyone. I am happy with myself. With all life's faults, with all of my faults and my continuing struggle to improve, I am happy. There are a lot of others who have more stuff. But there aren't many who are happier with the stuff they do have. That's the key. Are you happy with the stuff that you do have? Are you happy with yourself? You are you and that ain't going to change.

An old proverb says: ‘Be what you is, not what you ain't, 'cause when you is what you ain't, then you ain't what you is.’"

Folks, I think my friend hit the nail pretty squarely on the head. Though there are no Bible verses quoted in the above article, its wisdom certainly reflects Biblical teaching on the importance of contentment. Hebrews 13:5 says, "Keep your life free from the love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’" In 1 Timothy 6:6-8, the Apostle Paul writes, “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out. If we have food and clothing, we will be content with these.”

With COVID-19 and all the restrictions surrounding it, I sometimes find myself complaining about our current situation. I wish things were different than they are. I long for the time when we will be able to shake hands and hug each other after worshiping together in church. Yet it is foolish to take for granted the many blessings from the Lord which we enjoy each day, and even if we have nothing else, we still have God’s best gift of all, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Yours, asking God to help me be content,
Pastor Dan Erickson
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Dan Erickson