But that's not real contentment. Being content is simply being thankful for the small blessings in your life, because you know that without those blessings, your life would truly be hard to live.
One lesson I'm teaching my kids is to learn how to be thankful for what they get. You know how kids are: despite giving them what they want, they would always find something else to complain about. You could overlook this for a while, but if you keep overlooking this, then they would continue to be ungrateful well into their adulthood.
So, any time my kids decide to complain about something, I would ask them, "Do you want me to take away what you already have?" Of course, they would say no. Then I would say, "Be thankful for what you get!"
You see, I want my kids to understand that they can't have everything they want. They need to be thankful for whatever they could get.
But in this Westernized society (particularly, American society), we are a nation that believe you could get ANYTHING you want if you work hard for it. Not only that, but we believe that you OUGHT to get whatever you want! Want a beautiful, smoking-hot wife? Don't settle for Betsy Blue! Get that smoking-hot Jane! Want a super rich husband? Don't settle for the plumber! Go out and get Mr. Money! Want a big house? Fast car? Lots of money? Don't settle! Get what you want!
However, reality is that you can't always get what you want. Yes, the few who seem to have everything they want are the exception in the world. Most of us, even if we were rather wealthy, can't have everything that we want.
But then again, why should you want everything in the world? There's a Bible passage that says, "None of us brought anything into this world, and we certainly can't take anything out of this world" (1st Timothy 6:7). Why try to gain the whole world when you can't take any of it with you?
But, the apostle says, "if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that" (verse 8).
- No one needs a million dollars a year to survive.
- No one needs a Mercedez to drive.
- No one needs a mansion on the hill to live in.
But EVERYBODY needs food, clothing, and shelter to survive. These you ought to be content with, because without them, life would truly be hard for you.
You think your life is hard now. You're working SO much just to keep your head above the water. Question: do you have food, clothing, and shelter? Be content!
But your car is always having mechanical issues! Now the engine light is on! Question: do you still have a car to drive? Does it get you to where you NEED to be? Be content!
But your kids are driving you INSANE! You barely get a break and your spouse, who is the one who works outside the home, barely helps you around the house. Question: are your kids healthy? Are your bills paid? Do you have a roof over your head? Are your kids starving? Do they go places with shoes on their feet? Be content!
No, being content doesn't mean you shouldn't strive for better. If you hate your job, you're welcome to look for another one. But until you find another job, be content with the one you have.
If you could find a better car, do so! But until you find one, be content with the clunker that you have.
You may not like the area you live in. Too much crime! Until you move to a better neighborhood, be content that you actually have a place to come home to. There's always the alternative: living out on the streets!
One of the reasons I believe God would withhold some of the bigger blessings is because we don't know how to be thankful for the little that he has given us. If we can't be content with the little that we have, do you think we'd be content if we had plenty? No way! We would still have stuff to complain about, and one of the last things God needs is a person who has everything who complains about having nothing!
Look around you and note the small blessings that you have. Be content with these blessings, because without them, your life would really be hard. You don't need to settle for less, but while you are striving for better, be thankful for the little that you have so that when you do hit it big, you won't forget to be happy with the little things in life!