Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Contentment as Learning How to Live Without Things

In Brasilia (Nov. 2014)
What's one of the best meals you have ever eaten? For Linda and I the dinner we had with Bruce and Ann Borquist at Fogo de Chão in Brasilia ranks near the top. Someone treated us to this incredible eating experience (all 4 of us say thank you - what a great gift! And yes, I did eat the dessert you recommended.). I felt very content after this meal and time together! 

Experiences like this are better is when one's contentment is not a function of circumstances. As the apostle Paul once wrote, "I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances, whether I abound or whether I am abased." As we ate that incredible Brazilian meal we were able to see it as a gift, not as a right or entitlement. This makes the food taste better. (BTW - I'm now reading John Townsend's book The Entitlement Cure: Finding Success In Doing Things the Right Way.)

Philip Yancey shares this story In his excellent book on prayer. 

"I remembered reading the account of a spiritual seeker who interrupted a busy life to spend a few days in a monastery. “I hope your stay is a blessed one,” said the monk who showed the visitor to his cell. “If you need anything, let us know and we’ll teach you how to live without it.”" (Yancey, Prayer, Kindle Locations 1012-1015) 

The biblical idea of contentment is circumstance-independent. As are peace, joy, love and so on. The "fruit of the Spirit" is circumstance-independent. Were this not so things like inner peace would be conditional, and that's bad news for all of us. (That is, "IF I have _________, THEN I will have inner peace." 

The freer a person is inwardly the better life tastes.