August 5, 2022
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There's this age where a toddler just starts exploding with words they're learning and hour-by-hour discoveries they're making. Those "discoveries" quickly teach new parents a survival skill. It's called "baby proofing" - as in removing anything that little person could get their hands on that might do them harm or vice versa. The way you discover what needs to be removed is usually by the toddler getting their hands on it. Suddenly, parents are playing defense against this strong, and suddenly very independent, toddler offense. I've watched this time-honored human drama being acted out in our son and daughter-in-law's home when our then one-year-old granddaughter started exploring each new day. When she wanted something she couldn't reach, she made sure that they knew that. Our son explained our little angel's frame of mind this way: "All she ever wants is just beyond her reach."
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Always Beyond Your Reach."
Let's face it, fellow grownup babies - that toddler's reach syndrome is not limited to little people. It's a fact of life for many of us; all we want always seems to be just beyond our reach. I call it the "as soon as" syndrome: I'll be satisfied as soon as I graduate, as soon as I get that job, get that better job, get that house, get that bigger house, as soon as I get a boyfriend or girlfriend, or get a little more money. I'll be content as soon as I'm married, as soon as I'm divorced, as soon as I have children, grandchildren, as soon as I lose weight. I'll feel better as soon as I move, or as soon as I retire. It's the life never-ending cycle of "never enough."
And therein, is one of life's brutal truths - more is never enough. John D. Rockefeller was asked how much money is enough money. His answer was classic: "A little bit more." Well, in spite of its futility, many of us are driven to do whatever it takes to get more of what we think we need. But what we want is always just beyond our reach. Our "reach" syndrome condemns us to actually a life sentence called discontentment; never at peace, never satisfied. You know that feeling?
After passionately pursuing more of almost everything in his life, King Solomon wisely concluded in Ecclesiastes 4:6 - "Better one handful with tranquility than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind." What a great word picture for always wanting more. It's like chasing the wind. The Bible says it's much better to settle for less; one handful and have some peace and sanity, than to constantly push for more; two handfuls, but with a life that's basically out of control.
Which brings us to the liberating perspective of our word for today from the Word of God in 1 Timothy 6:6, "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." In other words, I will go with whatever God gives me, trusting Him to provide what He knows I need. We're talking like 23rd Psalm here, "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want." We're talking the wisdom of Job: "The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised." Praise - that's the language of contentment and the key to a peaceful heart. The Greek philosopher Plato said: "Contentment is not getting everything you always wanted to have; it's realizing how much you already have."
For every child of God, what you already have is the wise and adequate provision of your all-loving, all-knowing, all-powerful Heavenly Father. And you don't have to be a slave to the frustrating drive for more.
Celebrate everything you do have. Focus on all the good things your Father has done for you, and let Him turn praise for Him into blessed contentment for you. Because this stubborn push to always get what we don't have - well, it's for babies.