Archive for April, 2018

Making contentment less elusive

Last summer, our family took a boat ride on Lake LBJ. Our seven-year-old son surveyed the lake houses lining the shore. He noticed some of them had swimming pools.

“Hey, Dad,” he said. “Why do those houses need a pool when they have the lake?”

Perceptive question. My reply had something to do with the desire to swim in a more controlled environment. He seemed to get it. Sort of.

Finding contentment is a great challenge of our day. Global and social media combine to constantly show us what we’re missing.

Wanting what others have is not a modern dilemma. Thousands of years ago, Moses etched a commandment on a stone tablet: “Don’t set your heart on anything that is your neighbor’s.” (Exodus 20:17 from The Message)

The temptation to covet is not just reserved for things. Experiences and opportunities are also at play.

There has been talk at our house lately about Disney World. We’ve had a few friends visit the Magic Kingdom.

“Is Disney World in Texas?” one brother asked.

“No, it’s in Boston,” his seven-year-old sister informed him.

The farther, the better, as far as I’m concerned!

Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard did not set out to build a $200 million a year company when he started his outdoor clothing and gear company in the early 1970s. He simply wanted to create higher quality rock climbing apparel and equipment than what was available at the time.

The billionaire still speaks of a simplicity paradox. He encourages people to have fewer possessions of better quality that last longer. It’s not a scarcity mindset, he makes clear. It’s making space for more true living.

“The more you know, the less you need,” said Chouinard on National Public Radio’s “How I Built This.”

An avid fly fisherman, Chouinard recently decided to forego the thousands of fly shapes, colors and patterns that exist today.

“I’ve limited myself to one type of fly for the past year, and I’ve caught more fish than I’ve ever caught in my life. You can replace the hundreds of thousands of fly options with knowledge and technique.”

“The hardest thing in the world is to simplify your life because everything pulls you to be more and more complex. If we decide to go to a more simple life, it’s not going to be an impoverished life. It’s going to be really rich.”

My nine-year-old got his new baseball uniform last month. Like his brothers before him, he inscribed Philippians 4:13 on his hat: “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”

While many young believers reference this verse in terms of hitting home runs and scoring last second shots, the Apostle Paul was actually talking about being content in all situations, particularly hard ones.

Contentment is about perspective, as demonstrated in the following quote:

“I asked God for all things that I might enjoy life. He gave me life that I might enjoy all things.”

Finally, a Greek proverb summarizes why just a little bit more is often not enough:

“Nothing will content a man who is not content with little.”

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