Today is my anniversary. It is one of the celebrations that I enjoy a lot because to me, at least, it is very significant. Thirty years ago my wife and I made commitments to each other that we have kept for all this time. It has been a marvelous ride and I hope to have thirty more. Yet what I have noticed over the years is a truth that spurs this weeks quote. It is true within marriage, but it is true everywhere else in life as well. It goes like this:
"Where comparison begins, contentment ends." (Craig Groeschel)
Here's how you know this quote is true. Picture this scenario.
You are perfectly content with you house. You love how you have decorated it, what it looks like, the colors, etc. Then one day you get invited to someone's house and as you walk into their house you notice their kitchen is amazing. The new cabinets are fantastic and all the latest gadgets are in place. The marble counter tops are beautiful and the the way they have their lighting set up is cool. When you go home that night and walk into your own house you see, almost like for the first time, how worn things are, how dated they are, how it's a little more dreary than you would like, and suddenly dissatisfaction begins to creep in. What has changed? Nothing . . . except that you are now comparing what you have with someone else.
I see what someone else has and I want it.. As you know, there is nothing wrong with something nicer or better, but the question is all about why I want those things. The desire to compare and the discontentment it brings is deadly. It is not just in stuff either - it happens everywhere. We can compare our marriage with other people's marriages. Our kids with other people's kids. We compare with their education, their influence, their clothes, their hair . . . and the list could go on and on. We are told in the bible that we are to live lives of contentment. When I begin to compare, to see and notice what the other person has that I don't and why I need to have it, I will become increasingly unhappy. This never leads to good choices or behavior.
I felt like God was telling me at the start of this year to practice contentment. Contentment is something I choose, not something that happens to me. So I will make a routine of thanking God for what I have, thanking him for what others have, and realizing that no matter what my circumstances, I can rest content. In the end, knowing Jesus is what makes this all possible because he has provided everything I need for this life and the next.
Weldon Lemke has been leading Hope Chapel since 2009 with a passion to see people come to know God and grow to maturity in Him.