Contentment has seldom been part of my life’s equations, especially when the car goes into the shop for new brake pads and comes out squealing, or when a relationship unexpectedly ruffles, or when our son hikes 60 plus miles with only his backpack and his dog, like he’s doing right now.
Too many times I give into irritation and frustration and concern. This time around, however, Sunday’s sermon came to mind. Our pastor talked about The Equation, capitalized here to set it apart from all the ones I’ve thought up.
Here are just a few …
God + marriage = All I Need
God + family + an impressive car in an upscale neighborhood = The American Dream
God + family + enough money to assure we don’t need Him = Control
God + family + a successful writing career = Happiness
God + family = Everything
God is always a variable. Then again, so are people as I evidently haven’t believed he alone is enough. Truth be told, when I post this, I’ll still be grappling with the latter equation not adding up.
The problem is, we’re let down by variables like people, possessions and professions. If I write a new equation, which I’ve been tempted to do since the birth of our three-month-old granddaughter, I’ll be let down by her as well.
Here is where I’m supposed to interject, “But God never lets us down.”
Instead, I’m thinking, “Now what?”
If I’m no longer pursuing happiness and the American Dream by way of family, money and career, what is my part in The Equation? Do I sit all day and read the Bible? Leave everything behind and, wearing sackcloth and designer shoes, head for a mission field? Ask our son to help find a mountaintop where I can do my chanting?
I might have a better chance of practicing any one of these before I work out the biblical equation that instructs my part is to be content.
Insurmountable as it sounds, I Timothy 6:6 (NASB) says, “But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment.”
In the form of an equation, it looks like this: God + contentment = Great Gain.
According to this verse, I am content no matter the noisy brakes and others’ behavior. And never mind our son’s text about a bear that moments ago crossed the ridge above his campsite. I’m content, right?
What are your equations? Are they adding up?
WRite wHere I’m supposed to be – I’ve unknowingly blogged my part in The Equation – writing about being right where I’m supposed to be (and content). It’s time to put print into practice.
On the Side: Thanks to Iain Boyd, the rector at Trinity Church in Myrtle Beach, S.C., for simplifying scripture. I wouldn’t have recognized the equation without his guidance.
Also, thanks to Edie Melson for There’s No Math in Heaven. I received her post while working on my own.