Hi, friends! How was your Christmas? Ours was memorable as we drove through the Rockies to Alberta to visit my mother and brother and his family. The weather in the mountains, and on the prairies, can change in minutes. And it did. I’m grateful for safe travels on icy roads, and I’m thankful to be back home safe and sound.
Our area is now experiencing freezing rain. Here’s a picture from our yard. Tree branches are bowed low, some even touching the ground or snapping from the weight of the ice that coats them. The good news is—the temperatures are hovering around zero, so that means the roads are only wet, not a skating rink. The bad news is—our power is out.
Moving on from weather talk…
Last week I wrote a blog called “I Wish I May, I Wish I Might Never Tell a Lie” based on Proverbs 30:7-9—“O God, I beg two favors from you; let me have them before I die. First, help me never to tell a lie. Second, give me neither poverty nor riches! Give me just enough to satisfy my needs. For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God’s holy name.”
I promised to address the writer’s second wish—that God would give him neither poverty nor riches but “just enough to satisfy my needs.” To me, that phrase speaks of learning contentment.
As North Americans, we live in an affluent society. That comes with handy-dandy conveniences, pleasures, and privileges, but it often comes with putting too much emphasis on money and possessions. We fall into thinking that a healthy bank account and personal belongings bring happiness so we work harder to earn more money to buy more things, take more vacations, enjoy more experiences, or acquire bigger houses or newer cars. It seems the more we have, the more we want or think we need.
In reality, we need very little. When I was in my early 20s, I learned a valuable lesson about this. A mission agency had sent me and my hubby to Nepal. Our home was a teeny mud hut with no electricity, running water or indoor plumbing. We ate rice and lentils every day, sometimes twice a day. On occasion, the only vegetable available was pumpkin leaves. Our kitchen “sink” was a plastic basin. Our “bathtub” was a larger plastic basin that we’d place in the middle of the floor and fill with water heated over a kerosene camping stove.
This girl, who grew up in middle class North America, cried many tears for the first year. Admittedly, I threw a few “spiritual” temper tantrums—“God, this is too hard. I just wanna go home!” But I stayed, and I grew as a result. I also developed contentment despite the lack of modern conveniences and abundance of things such as food choices, comfy furniture, and even the ability to get a decent haircut. That lesson made a lifelong impact, for which I’m grateful.
In a society saturated by affluence, how do we respond if God gives us only enough to meet our needs? Do we compare our lot with others who have more and become envious? Do we allow our wants to overrule and work, work, work so we can have more? Or do we say “Thank You” and choose to be content with His provision?
Food for thought.
And now, speaking of food—I have company coming for supper. The meal is half prepared. Looks like I’ll be cooking the rest—rice and vegetables—on the BBQ element. Should be interesting! Oh my. Another opportunity to practice contentment.
Be blessed, and know you are loved.