Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” First Thessalonians 5:18
It was the strangest thought but somehow it made sense. The other morning, I was doing my walking thing. It was a brisk morning with a strong wind and cloudy skies and just for fun…a light rain. It was one of those mornings the treadmill probably made sense, but I didn’t listen. I turned in a good time…not that I desired to go fast but I desired to get back to my car.
So, in an attempt to take my mind off the wind, rain, and cold, I was mulling around some ideas about a message series I am teaching at the church where I pastor. It is called “Taking Care of Business” and carries the idea that as Jesus followers or as Jesus churches we are called to do and not just talk. We are called not to just believe but to act. Our lives and the life of our church needs to show a spiritual profit or, like any other business” we will go out of business. And that’s when it happened.
Here’s what came to my mind. From out of the blue, or in this case gray, came, “Your neighbor’s wife will only look attractive to you when you are unhappy with yours.” Now keep in mind the statement has nothing to do with my wife or my neighbor’s wife—it has to do with being content with what you have. You see, in these crazy days, it is often easy for the grass on the other side of the fence to look enticing. Other things, including other gods, suddenly look better. It can be true in marriages but more importantly it is true in our faith.
We live in a world of constant flux and when that is true it can impact anything and everything. We grow discontent and emotionally and spiritually disoriented. We start looking for something, anything really, to make us feel better or good. And too often we look in all the wrong places. The contentment satisfier is, wait for it, Jesus. Never ever confuse that with anything else…including church.
If you want to be content, if you want to be happier, learn to be grateful for what you have instead of grumpy because of what you don’t. Remember that the things that matter aren’t bought in a store they come from meaningful relationships. They are born in delivery rooms and discovered on a hilltop as the sun goes down in a beautiful array of colors. They are the products of dreams and the anchor of our hope. They are the “notes” from a loving God who says, “I love you” every single day. You see the Bible guy Paul, and probably sitting in some difficult place said, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” I think He discovered that gratitude doesn’t depend on circumstances—it depends on perspective. Hmmm.
So why not today, make a list and check it twice, of all the things God has allowed to come into your life. Instead of longing for the girl next door (remember the analogy), why not cuddle up close to all that is already within your grasp. Why not love, why not appreciate, why not listen for the whisper of the Whisperer as He tells you how special you are—just the way you are—and assures you that “He’s got this.” Bro. Dewayne