(Note: A downloadable PDF copy of this lesson is available on the last page.)
IN SEARCH OF THE GOLDEN POT
I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am (Philippians 4:11).
We tend to chase that golden pot at the end of the rainbow, that something in the future that will bring us contentment.
Hopefully, some new experience, some new success, some new degree of cooperation or obedience from the people around us, or meeting someone new will make us happy.
We have all listened to someone wistfully say:
“If I could only get that promotion, then I would be happy…”
“Being a housewife is degrading. If only I had a job…”
“If my husband would only pay more attention to me, then I would be…”
“If only our children would obey, then we’d…”
A NEW DAY
I’ve listened to many people describe their hopes with excitement in their voices, their eyes sparkle, and happy smiles light up their faces. Generally, such optimism consumes us when there are prospects for something new in the future:
“I’m getting married.”
“I’m starting a new job.”
“I made a wonderful investment.”
“We are building a new house.”
“We are expecting a baby.”
“I’ve made a fortune.”
“We are taking a trip.”
“I’m going to college.”
TURNED TO ASHES…
I’ve listened to the same people who have been in pursuit of something new for a while–perhaps years. Their hopes have turned to ashes. As they recount what happened, their eyes are slits, the corners of their mouths are turned down. Their voices tremble:
“My wife drives me nuts.”
“My boss is unmerciful.”
“My investment went sour.”
“We have all kinds of problems with our new house.”
“The baby bawls all night.”
“My business drives me crazy.”
“Our trip was awful.”
“I hate college.”
We all know people–perhaps our own children, parents, or close friends–who have spent many years in pursuit of education, wealth, power, social life, or religious life.
Their goal was a fulfilled, contented, productive life. But they ended up depressed, sour, bitter, frustrated, empty, with broken friendships and marriages. They didn’t learn “to be content in whatever circumstance they were.”