I posted this picture on the screen in my classroom and asked my students to put their pens to paper and write. Although this is a simple question, the responses I received were quite insightful.
Here are some of the responses:
givers & takers
judges & juries
the skeptical & the gullible
rich & poor
dependent & independent
What was interesting to me is that these answers came from kids that are no older than 21 and most come from a low income, sometimes at-risk living situation.
So when I answered the question for myself the first thing that popped in my mind was: There are two kinds of people in the world… people who are content and people who are not content.
Since Thanksgiving is tomorrow, it seems like there is no better time to look at what contentment is and what it means. To me, contentment is a feeling of peace within yourself that allows you to face the difficulties of life without allowing them to weigh you down and burden your soul. So many people walk around with heavy hearts and you can almost see the burdens that they bear. It is very difficult times that we face right now. The difficulties that we face, however, need not dominate our thoughts or weigh down our hearts.
I think that contentment is key to the message of Jesus in the New Testament. Contentment comes from knowing who you are and where your security rests. When I acknowledge the Lordship of Christ in my life and when I recognize that circumstances don’t control me or change my eternal destination, then I can begin to be content with where I am and what I have. Please note that there is a difference in being content and being stagnant. Contentedness is not a fatalistic mindset that nothing will ever change so why bother trying. Rather, it is a realization that my circumstances can be used to shape me and mold me into the image of Christ and that I must be content to allow the Father to work in me through whatever ways He sees fit.
There is so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. I haven’t enjoyed everything that I have persevered through this year and it is easy to compare what other people have and feel dejected, but if you take a few moments to look around you, you will see there is much to be thankful for and content with.
I hope that you can choose to be one of the contented instead of one of the discontented. It will not only change your life, but it will change your outlook and your relationships with others as well.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving!