Perhaps it may turn out a sang,
Perhaps turn out a sermon.

-- R. Burns Epistle to a Young Friend

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Thinking About Things

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, I will never leave you nor forsake you.  So we can confidently say, The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me? – Hebrews 13:5-6

Be content with you have.  If I were going to get a tattoo, I would have that statement tattooed on my right hand, but I’m content with my right hand the way it is.  Sufficient in itself, to be content with what we have has a corollary, I suppose, of being content with what we don’t have, and we ought to be content with what other people have. 

Probably one of the biggest lies we tell ourselves is that, while we aren’t content with what we have now, if only we get X, we will be.  It doesn’t work that way.  Contentment is never a function of our possessions.  Contentment grows out of trust and confidence.  When we know who we are and what we are, when we are certain that we are loved, when we are convinced of the power and presence of God, we are content.  It doesn’t mean that we don’t work and strive to improve ourselves in the sense of becoming better people or in helping and supporting others.  It means that we are no longer anxious and overly concerned about how things will work out. 

We can get so caught up in the bad news and the dire situations and the catastrophic events we witness that we forget that we abide in Christ and He in us.  So I got one side of my head saying, You’re a Christian; you believe God is all-powerful; stop fretting.  The other side is going on about the national debt and hyper-inflation and bankruptcy and Ebola and beheadings, global warming and the dangers of antiperspirants versus being shunned for body odor.  We are worried about what the neighbors might think.  Shoot, sometimes I worry about being worried.   

If I was happier when I had less stuff it was probably because I spent less time and trouble and money taking care of it.  Right now, among other things, I need to build a new shed to put some of my equipment in and have more room to work on my equipment.  Or, I could try to get rid of some of it, but then when the twice-per-decade need arose for it, I’d probably go out and buy another one.  It’s always a trade-off.  When you ain’t got nothin’, you ain’t got nothin’ to lose.  Conversely, you ain’t got nothin’.

I have looked at an empty refrigerator, bare shelves, and a zero bank balance.  It was a learning experience.  God got me through it.  I’m still here with all I need and then some.  If, from the world’s perspective, I’m ever down to nothing again, I’ll still have the Lord.   

The past has brought us to now.  The future is always being created now.  It kind of makes me think now is pretty important.  Anxiety and discontentment ruin new for us.  The only way to have joy in the Lord is to have it now.   


julie said...

...and the dangers of antiperspirants versus being shunned for body odor.

True story: while in a painting class in college, one of my fellow students was going off on a rant about how shampoo and deodorant are dangerous carcinogenic toxins and we should be washing with natural products and skipping deodorant. I jokingly muttered, "see what happened when you stop testing on animals?"

The teacher almost fell out of his chair, he was laughing so hard. One of my prouder moments.

Honestly, though, I'll believe the dangers when there start to be large numbers of people walking around with scalp and armpit tumors.

julie said...

As to the rest of your post, I wholeheartedly agree, as usual. But shame on you for claiming at Bob's that you have nothing to say!

mushroom said...

That is hilarious.

I love the Amish but get around them in a store and, man, some things about modern life are not so bad.

Everything I say has been said before. I'm just a repeater.

John Lien said...

Probably one of the biggest lies we tell ourselves is that, while we aren’t content with what we have now, if only we get X, we will be. It doesn’t work that way. Contentment is never a function of our possessions. Contentment grows out of trust and confidence.

Yes! Good point.

I'm pretty sure I've reached peak stuff. I do like it though. Happy to say that I'm not as gripped with the desire for stuff as I used to be (could be because I have a hefty pile of it).

Well, an anvil would be nice, and a horizontal boring machine, and more sheds for the stuff out in the rain...

mushroom said...

Peak stuff -- that's a good way to put it.

I was dreaming -- no kidding -- about bikes last night.

This morning, my wife tells me our granddaughter is still having trouble with the transmission on her little Saturn. For what I'd pay for a new bike, I could probably buy her a good used car.

mushroom said...

My posting schedule is messed up today. I have a fix I have to do plus running The Boss to one of her appointments.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Wordsof wisdom, Bro!

I learned very early in life, mostly from my grandparents, if I ain't happy with what I got I sure ain't gonna be happy with more.

Dicontent, or to be more precise, a lack or void in thankfulness sows the seeds of envy n' bitterness to replace that void.
Along with a bigger void in our heart that no amount of stuff will ever fill.

I recall what Tom Clancy said in an interview I read.
The interviewer asked how he felt about being wealthy when his books hit it big.

Clancy said, essentially, no different than before. I just drive a better car, have a better house, eat better food and drink better booze but it's no different to me.
I won't let success change me or influence my character.

He was glad he didn't become so successful until he was older because it is so much more difficult to handle it when youre young and immature and have more of a propensity to believe people when they say you are great and better than most everyone else.

Tried to find the quote so I'm going by memory here but that was the gist I got.

Anyhow, although I learned this lesson early in life I still need to remind myself not to take anything for granted, and to be thankfull to the fullest.

As you say, you can't be joyfull without bein' thankfull.
Nor can you fully appreciate anything without experiencing not having it.
Like electricity, or running water, or hunger, thirst, and a zillion other things, material and spiritial.

That's not to say someone born rich can't fully appreciate it, but it is more difficult if he is not being taught that.
I've seen poor folks also having the same difficulties so I'm not saying it's a problem of class in the material sense but a problem of lack of experience plus a lack of being taught that thankfulness is better than bitterness.

Sheesh, I really rambled on this, but hopefully You know what I meant.
Can I get a translator here?

mushroom said...

No translation needed. I got that one coming in five by five.

Gratitude and appreciation are vital. The ingrate is an emotional black hole both to himself and to those around him.