Wednesday, January 11, 2006
If you're looking for a great real estate deal, don't go looking in the metropolitan New York area. Housing in the metro New York area is just really expensive. When people from another part of the country start looking at home prices there, they usually get a paralyzing case of sticker shock. When our friend Rachel and her husband moved to the New York area to serve the Lord, they went through that cost-of-living trauma. Rachel was talking one day to my wife about this and it led her to tell about a minor, but particularly irritating, frustration she had with their house. It was about that pipe in the corner of the dining room! Rachel said, "I have wallpapered the room. I have tried everything to get that dumb pipe to blend in, but nothing works! It's ugly!" Then she paused for a moment and she said, "You know, I told God I'd live in a grass hut in Africa if He called me to, and I meant it! Why can't I live in a house with an ugly pipe in New Jersey?" Then Rachel answered her own question. "I know why." The diagnosis that followed might provide an x-ray of what's going on in you!
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "How to Never Be Satisfied."
Our friend said, "My problem is comparing." She was comparing what she had to what others around her had. And since others around her were in nicer homes, she couldn't be content with hers. But if she had been in a place where everyone lived in a grass hut, she could have been content with a grass hut!
Content. Doesn't just the sound of the word make you feel kind of quiet and peaceful inside. Our word for today from the Word of God comes from 1 Timothy 6:6-8. "Godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that." Paul boldly affirmed that contentment has nothing to do with your surroundings when he wrote from a dismal prison cell, "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" ( Philippians 4:12-13).
Discontentment. Now, that's an ugly word - never satisfied, forever frustrated, constantly turbulent inside. And like our friend pointed out, discontentment always starts with comparing. And we invariably compare our situation with what looks like greener grass with someone who is better off than we are.
So you decide how you're going to feel about where you are by comparing yourself with someone who makes more money than you do; who has more house than you do; who you think is better looking or more talented than you are. Maybe you're comparing your ministry to someone else's, or your job, or how you're being treated. There's probably some arena of your life where you are especially susceptible to comparing yourself. Well, congratulations. You have found the secret of never being satisfied with your life!
So how do we find that contentment that the Bible calls "great gain"? For starters, if you must compare, compare yourself with people who are worse off than you are. There are many, many of them. And focus on the God you belong to who is working out a unique plan for you, unlike anyone else's on earth. As part of His plan, there will always be people with more of what you want and people with less than what you have. He's measuring out yours in the amounts that will most make you like Jesus and help you be what He made you to be.
You're unique! God's plans for you are unique! So comparing makes no sense and it's an insult to the Heavenly Father who is providing everything you need. One day when Peter was comparing God's plans for him with God's plan for John, Peter asked, "Lord, what about him?" Jesus said to him what He might want to say about you and your comparing things, "What is that to you? You must follow me."