OK, it’s official. I want to go back to school. No, I don’t want to be a doctor or a lawyer. I am not interested in pursuing an MBA, or getting a PhD in Koine Greek. No, I want to go way back to school. I want to be a Monroe Mustang.
I think I just got caught up in the moment. Josh started Kindergarten last week, and as I walked with him down the halls for back to school night, and dropped him off at his class each day, I found myself jealous of a five year old. His school has a computer lab, a cafeteria, a music room, a brand new playground, a gym, a library, friends, teachers . . . everything!
Seeing Josh’s new school and thinking about its effect on me reminded me of a universal truth of sinful humanity . . . we struggle to be content. I have heard it said before that we need to watch which “tent” we are living in . . . “content” or “discontent.” Sadly, despite the multitude of ways we are blessed, I think many of us (me included) spend too much time in the wrong tent. Think about it. I am a grown man with my own laptop computer, the ability to drive myself to eat anywhere I want, an MP3 player with access to any song I want to listen to, a health club membership, tons of good friends, and lots of opportunities, and yet I find myself longing for the life of a five year old. Fascinating. Sad, but fascinating.
There is something within us that longs for what we do not have. The amazing thing is, often times we long EVEN FOR WHAT WE ALREADY HAVE. Crazy, I know. We live a remote control life. We care not so much about what is “on” but what ELSE is “on.”
My illustration about my desire to be a kindergartner is a bit exaggerated, but in my life, I all too often find myself discontent over what I already have, but want more of. I have a house, but my mind wanders to how a different house would be better. I have a job, but I wonder if I am doing what I am supposed to be doing. I have a car, but I dream of driving something else. I am blessed beyond measure, yet too often I find myself sleeping in a the wrong “tent.” Can you relate?
The Apostle Paul wrote about this notion in Philippians 4:11-13 when he says, “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”
The bottom line is that we need to learn to be satisfied in the Lord who gives us strength. When we see all our provision as from Him, our perspective begins to shift from what I don’t have to what God wants me to have, and Father knows best. You know what they say, “everything you need to know you learned in kindergarten.” I don’t know if that will be true of Joshua, but it certainly is true of his old man.
After spending the past month in Sunday school learning about contentment, Josh informed me leaving church today that “they were not going to be content anymore starting next week.” Of course, he was referring to his class focusing on a different virtue during September. It was a simple misstatement by a young man learning grammar. Here’s hoping both father and son (and all of us) follow Paul’s example and look to Christ for our strength, finding contentment next week and beyond.