I Timothy 6:6-8: “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.” (NIV)
Over a month ago the local news featured a huge segment about the new iPhone 5. Some people were lined up outside starting at 10:00 p.m. the night before, waiting for the store to open at 8:00 a.m. The newscaster interviewed two young ladies, probably late teens, about why they were standing in line waiting for the iPhone 5, and why they wanted it. The first woman stated she had lost her old phone (an iPhone 4), so wanted one today. The other woman, had recently gotten an iPhone 4, and stated that she would probably wait until they came out officially in a few months, but she wanted one too. When asked, “Why the iPhone 5?” both of them answered, “Because we have to have one. It’s an iPhone 5!”
That made me sad, especially in today’s economy. I know multiple families that aren’t sure where they’re going to find money for next week’s groceries or are two months’ behind on their mortgage or haven’t paid all of their monthly bills for almost a year now, instead picking and choosing what bill has to be paid because the money simply isn’t there due to job downsizing, medical bills, and unexpected life tragedies.
However, these two women aren’t the exception to the rule nowadays. How many of us are guilty of wanting what others have? More children, less children, more free time, more money, a bigger house, a cleaner house, to be married, less responsibility, better clothes, a more expensive car, or the latest and greatest TV/videogame/iPhone/electronic gadget?
I read a quote that sums up how I want to live my life, “The happiest people don’t have the best of everything…they just make the best of everything.” (Mac Anderson). I want to be appreciative of what I have. I want to live my life generously, on the lookout to give whatever I may have in excess to those in need, expecting nothing in return except the satisfaction of obeying God’s principles to love others. I want to be able to be content when I have excess as well as when the finances are stretched thin, to be appreciative of having a car that runs even if it’s from 1999, to be thankful for my health and that of my loved ones, and to recognize when God is blessing me, usually much bigger and better than I could’ve ever imagined.
When I shift my focus from, “I wish…” to “Thank you for…,” my whole outlook changes. I suddenly am happy with my older car and older TV, the nutritious meals I’m able to provide, the free activities that we are able to enjoy together as a family, and just the ability to be on the lookout to bless others, regardless of their needs. When I do that, I’m able to really see the ways that God blesses me each and every day – through the kindness of others, through the words He speaks to my soul from the Bible, and through the power of friendships and love of family. Happiness does come from making the best of everything.