The boys were a bit miffed when I told them to select one of the two donuts they had chosen as their bedtime snack. I guess they wanted to save those for last! Then, this morning, Sammi took her last selected donut and a long john for her friend.
Kevin woke up (early, which may explain a lot), went to the donut box and broke into tears. He was really upset that someone had taken all except for one of the long johns. He was angry that there were so few donuts left. I told him that his specially selected donut was still there, but that wasn't good enough! I allowed him to have the one chocolate long john that was left instead of his special donut, but he still sniffled and whimpered through the whole thing. I'm sure it tasted like cardboard in his mouth.
It occurred to me that his response is unfortunately the same response most of us have in today's society. We have the things we chose, our jobs, homes, spouses, stuff, and yet we want something else. A bigger house, a bigger paycheck, more stuff. Then, even when we have more than we chose or need, we are still dissatisfied that someone else has more! When will we learn to be content with the wonderful blessings that we have?
I know that a lot of people are really hurting right now. They are having a really tough time making ends meet. There are a record number of foreclosures in our town (actually, we have the highest rate of foreclosures in the state), many people are out of work, and prices continue to increase with no end in sight. I don't want to downplay the difficulties that these folks are going through.
But so much of our lives are the results of choices that we make. We choose to live in a place that we really can't afford. We want stuff NOW, so we put it on charge, hoping we can pay it off later. We are dissatisfied with our jobs and want 'more, better, sooner' without being willing to take the effort to get more training, put in more effort, or go the extra mile. Or even to get an additional job to pay off some of our stuff. And even when we know what needs to be done to correct a situation, we don't change our behavior in a way that makes a difference.
Paul said he had learned to be content in any situation:
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content
whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it
is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every
situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I
can do everything through him who gives me strength." Phillipians 4:11-13 (NIV)
I want that level of contentment! I want to look around me and acknowledge that God has given me not only what I have selected as a result of my actions, but more indeed! I want to rejoice in that and focus on what really matters -- not the amount of donuts in the box, but the fact that I can hold one in my hand and bite into it's sweet, gooey goodness! Lord, please don't let me lose the joy you have given me because I'm looking at what I don't have. Help me to be content with the wonderful things you give me each day. Help me to make choices that honor you!