Friday, January 23, 2009

A couple of words that burn like fire

Living in Zambia makes you think different. (That is my warning if you continue to read.) Well, maybe I should explain. In America, at least where I come from, living isn't so much about surviving. It becomes cultural and normal to live the way I live, to think and plan life around kitchen remodels and family vacations, not surviving floods that come through your leaky roofs and malaria that makes your kid sick and finding/keeping a job that puts some food on the table. I was just struck the other day as I was driving through my neighborhood that these friends and strangers struggle so much daily to just to live, to get a house and keep a house and survive.

So, I was driving and everything just came at me really fast, images and moving pictures of life here and I got this strong sense of emotion and feeling. I just felt this urge at the moment to say something that made such sense at the moment, more than ever before, words that I need to continually hear, but also felt compelled to share to my friends and family in America who don't witness every day what I witness... These words that I thought and felt from the bottom of my heart and soul at that moment weren't planned or contrived or put there or thought up or organized. I haven't felt anything like that before or after. This isn't me trying to be convicting or challenging. And they can't be contained or diluted or softened. It was like a fire, burning, compelling me to stop right there and plead with you to hear.

So, for better or for worse, these words that just jumped into my thoughts like a flash of lightening accompanied by a roar of thunder... The two words that brought clarity and sense and peace was my heart's cry to you now: Be content!

Be content with your house, even if it isn't how you want it. Be content with your car, and your yard and your furniture. Be content if things don't match or they are a little outdated. Be content with your situation. Be content with simple food and living simply. Be content with little and don't think you need more. Be content with bad teachers, difficult bosses or discouraging news. More than just content, be thankful and joy-filled and gracious. Be content to be content. Be content so that you don't need anything to be content so that you can be content. Be content with things are hard. Be content with things are good. Be content to live in whatever circumstances you find yourself. Be content so you don't need anything more to be content. Being content is not an excuse for laziness or procrastination, but not being content is not justification for greed, self-indulgence, ignorance and just living the American dream.

Please, for your sake, be content. That is my hope and my pleading from the bottom of my heart for you that you will be content. Enjoy the blessings that God gives, but in them, be content.

Philip. 4:11
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.


Terri in Bellingham said...

Thank you so much for the challenge and encouragement to be content.

bradwidman said...

Hey Steve, Thanks for posting this. I have been thinking a lot about this sort of thing in my life as of late. It helped me understand more how and why I need to be content.
Tonight I was at awana and one of the kids recited Heb. 13:5 to me, it says,

"Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,
"Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you."

This helped to show me more how GOD will be our contentment if we would just turn and let me fill that void.

Thanks for posting your thoughts, they are very interesting and insightful!