This last weekend our team had a slew of medical exams for our entry visa applications (not to be confused with our work permits, which are being processed). A doctor volunteered his time to give us the check-ups, and so we all met at his office after church. Since the whole process was to take over an hour, we brought lunch with us to eat. This is where the trouble began.
We had packed a lunch from home: sandwiches, garlic potatoes, and fruit. Some of our coworkers decided to pick up some burgers and fries for lunch. Jude was not happy. He normally loves sandwiches and garlic potatoes, but seeing other kids with fries suddenly made his own lunch seemed inedible. Discontentment ensued.
We tried to help Jude realize that his lunch was good for him. It was even tasty. We reminded him of how much we loved him and how we want to give our kids good things. Sometimes that means we get fries, but not today. This wisdom did not assuage his angst. Through it all, the cry of Jude’s heart remained the same: “But I want fries.”
Jude eventually tasted his potatoes and realized they were not too bad after all. Still edible, except for the fruit (see Blueberry Battlesfor more on this one).
If only Jude knew how much he is like his daddy. There have been several times in our preparations to leave for Papua New Guinea that I have been jealous of something others have that I lack. Sometimes I look at what God has graciously provided for coworkers or friends, and suddenly I am more unsatisfied with what God has entrusted to me. My portion in life seems less edible. “But I want fries!”
How quickly discontentment can rise when I find my satisfaction in things and circumstances instead of in God. Why does my heart crave more money, more leisure, a faster computer, an easier ministry, less tasks, greater stability, etc.? Is it not because my contentment in God is so little? As the writer of Hebrews puts it: “Keep your life free from the love of money, and be content with what you have, for God has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Heb. 13:5). We are to be content with what we have because of the promises we have in Jesus Christ. And Jesus clearly warns us to guard against covetousness “for life does not consist in the abundance of one’s possessions” (Luke 12:15). There is no true life to be had in stuff (especially fries).
Pray for our family. We want to be able to say that we “have learned to be content in whatever situation” (Phil. 4:11) because we know that “there is great gain in godliness with contentment” (1 Tim 6:6).
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