Very early yesterday morning, as I was crafting my sermon for the day, I received the standard pop-up notification on email that someone had subscribed to my Carpe Diem blog. It had been my intent to capitalize on Paul’s words when he wrote to Timothy: “But godliness with contentment is great gain.
In referencing this scripture, James Denison writes: “You have a contented heart if you are:
- satisfied with what is at hand,
- at peace with what you have and are,
- if you’re not struggling to be something you’re not,
- If there is peace and security in your heart that you’re okay as you are before God,
- yours is a contented heart.”
Without contentment our focus is always on our insatiable need for more. Whether it is through personal effort or acquisition, seldom are we satisfied with what we have accomplished or collected. You know the concept:
- “I only want the land that touches mine.”
- You paint one room in your home and the only thing that becomes obvious is that the other rooms in your home need paint.
- You have the first generation iPad, but it doesn’t have the capacity to do Face Time with anyone because it doesn’t have a camera. Consequently, what was once good enough is discarded for the new and improved.
Always looming out ahead is the need for more. It is an endless cycle that leads to dissatisfaction and always toward the quest for more. Isn’t there a more excellent way? Paul was right when he wrote: “But godliness with contentment is great gain.” Consider for a moment the doors that open before us when we opt to live with a sense of gratitude.
Earlier in the week, I mention that Jake, my six-year old grandson, introduced me to the song, “Speak Life”. I had never heard the song. For that matter, I had never heard of TobyMac, the artist who sings the song. You’re probably thinking I don’t get out much. The lyrics to “Speak Life” chronicle the influence and hopefulness for others that result when contentment and gratitude are the prevailing characteristics of our life.
It is almost as though hope is contagious. Wouldn’t you like to be the kind of person that others gravitate toward because there is something about your grasp on what really is important in life that radiates a sense of joy and peace? Isn’t it God’s calling on our life that we live with that way? “But godliness with contentment is great gain.”
The lyrics to “Speak Life” continue to roll around in my head. At some point, I hope they more consistently manifest themselves in my life story. I suspect the same is true for you. Wouldn’t you like to have the range of influence that others find as a positive catalyst to cheer them on and fill them with hope?
Catch the message of these lyrics from “Speak Life” in your mind:
“When the sun won’t shine and you don’t know why. Look into the eyes of the brokenhearted; Watch them come alive as soon as you speak hope, You speak love, you speak… You speak Life, (oh oh oh oh oh oh) You speak Life. (oh oh oh oh oh oh)
Some days the tongue gets twisted; Other days my thoughts just fall apart. I do, I don’t, I will, I won’t, It’s like I’m drowning in the deep. Well it’s crazy to imagine, Words from our lips as the arms of compassion, Mountains crumble with every syllable. Hope can live or die.
So speak Life, speak Life. To the deadest darkest night. Speak life, speak Life.”
In one of his books, John Ortberg shared a personal example of how we, at times, fall into the pit of something other than a spirit of gratitude. Ortberg writes that he had been traveling and it was a hassle. We can all relate to that. You know the drill. We all do.
You get to the airport two hours early for check-in only to discover the plane is delayed. In addition, you get to the check-in counter and the plane is overbooked. The voice on the intercom is asking folks who would be willing to accept a voucher for the cost of their flight to come to the check-in counter. They will place you on a later flight free simply to compensate you for the inconvenience of the delay. The offer is tempting.
You decline because you have places to go and friends to meet. Your schedule simply won’t allow it. Finally you are seated on the plane and your only concern is whether or not you’ll make you’re your connecting flight in time. It’s exhausting. I’ve been there. We all have.
When Ortberg reached his destination, his hope to visit with a friend didn’t work out. He was extremely disappointed. He writes: “I was kind of ticked off about that”. It was 15 degrees outside. It was beyond his comprehension that anyone would choose to live where it is 15 degrees. That just seemed stupid to him.
He writes, “Then I was in a service in a church, and I just got ambushed. There was about a 4-minute moment in the service. People got up and just said about one or two sentences in a microphone.
- One guy got up and said, ‘I’m grateful God was with me this last year even though I lost my job.’ Do you ever think about your job and how blessed you are to have it. Or do you simply take it for granted?
- Somebody else got up and said, ‘I’m grateful that God was with me this last year, and I could marry the person of my dreams.’ Do you live with a sense of gratitude for the person with whom you share life or do you simply take the experience for granted?
- A 10-year-old boy got up…this got me…and said, ‘I’m grateful God was with me in chemo this year.’
- Somebody else got up and said, ‘Though I lost most of my money this year, I’m grateful that the less I have, the more I find I have.’
- The last one was a woman who came out in a wheelchair, and she said, ‘I’m grateful that when the doctor said to me, ‘Either chemo or Hospice,’ and I said, ‘No more chemo,’ I had such a sense of peace with God’.”
Paul says in every circumstance…give thanks. How do you do that? Did I mention gratitude or the need for gratitude can be contagious? I had a couple of examples in mind to share in my sermon, but before I could get them on paper, another one popped up on my computer screen.
Early yesterday morning, I received the standard pop-up notification that a new subscriber was now following my Carpe Diem blog. The message read: “realmarklandery just started following you at…They will receive an email every time you publish a post. Congratulations. You might want to go see what they’re up to! Perhaps you will like their blog as much as they liked yours!”
Okay, I’m not usually easily distracted when I’m working on a sermon, but I caved in – perhaps it was Divine Providence. I scrolled down and hesitantly selected “REALMARKLANDREY’s most recent blog. It was posted on November 9. When I saw the title, I almost opted not to open it, but I’m glad I did. It could not have fit more perfectly with what I wanted to share.
It is all about living with a sense of gratitude and the “Speak Life” impact that kind of lifestyle has on others. Let there be no mistake – If you want to Speak Life – living with a sense of gratitude before God is essential.
The blog was entitled “Finding Life-Change in a Men’s Restroom”
ON NOVEMBER 9, 2015 BY REALMARKLANDRY It is an amazing and thought provoking post. http://howtobecompletelymiserable.co/2015/11/09/finding-life-change-in-a-mens-restroom/
All My Best!