carlaCultivating the Spirit of Contentment by Major Carla Voeller
Read Matthew 13:12
It’s incredible to realize that the first Thanksgiving celebration was held in the midst of disease, death and poverty. When Abraham Lincoln gave the proclamation for the first national holiday, it was 1863 in the middle of the worst conflict in American history, the Civil War.  Both were marked by extreme suffering. And yet – the people gave thanks.
I recently read an article by Mick Ukleja about the Jewish Passover. He says that “Jews the world over sing the thousand year old song Dayenu, a word which translates roughly as, “that would have been enough.” If that’s all that God had done for them, that would have been enough (even though He did more). The song is a reminder that although we can content ourselves with any one of God’s blessings, the blessings always keep on coming.
There are times when I am distracted by the greener grass around me, and I forget the intentionality of contentment. I find myself chasing the “if only” myth. If only I looked more like her. If only I had that job, that house, in that neighborhood, with those perfect kids. The problem with the “if only” myth is that it’s focused entirely on the wrong thing: the stuff on the other side of the fence. When we gaze longingly over the fence to the greener pastures of what we don’t have, we forget to see the lush meadow beneath our own two feet.
Jesus describes the abundance of contentment when He says, “For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him.” In other words, we will never satisfy our souls with more stuff. When we practice gratitude, we will cultivate contentment within our hearts. Like the Jews at Passover, the apostle Paul, and the colonial pilgrims, I must cultivate contentment. The secret? Turn my heart towards God’s abundance, and realize that God’s blessings never end. That will always make me thankful.
What part of your life is desiring to be satisfied?
Is it painful to you to get rid of ‘stuff’ – if so, why do you find that to be true?



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