But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.
But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.    ~ 1Timothy 6: 6 -8

 Success or failure. Financial windfall or bankruptcy. Dream house or simple apartment. There are so many circumstances that greatly influence our contentment level – if we let them. One of my former pastors once said that the bigger the gap between our expectations and reality, the bigger our misery factor. If I’m married to George the plumber but I really wanted more of a George Clooney, my misery would be great!

In my younger years, I was only truly satisfied if was reaching my goals for my marriage, children, career, body, and finances. My outlook on life was as variable as the stock market and I was constantly vacillating between happiness and discontentment. It was no way to live.

Dogs Get It
In my opinion, dogs “get it”. They understand what’s important. I had a cute little beagle named Max that we bought while we lived in Lugano, Switzerland. Lugano is in the Italian canton (state) of Ticino within miles of the northern Italian border. The language and culture are very Italian – only with a Swiss address. All the locals who saw Max  walking with me would exclaim, “Piccobello Cannelino!”, which means cute little dog.

Max didn’t care that he was cute or that people called him a funny name. He just liked the attention and the nice little pat he got from all the friendly strangers. In fact, Max is very content if we satisfy just a few basic needs. He loves to eat the same exact meal day after day. And, if he gets some personal attention and a nice walk; his life is a total success. Oh…and lots of sleep.

But in most people’s eyes Max doesn’t compare with the famous beagle, Uno; who was the first beagle ever to win best in show at the Westminster Dog Show in New York. Uno is the ultimate dog success. Quite frankly, Uno could care less about his fame.  Don’t tell his owner and handler, but he doesn’t even know he’s a champ. He wants the same things Max does…a little love…and a whole lot of food.

The apostle Paul tells the younger Timothy that living a godly life with contentment is great gain. He reminds him that he arrived with nothing and will leave the same way; and that he should be content with simply having his basic needs for food and clothing met. So, how are you doing in the contentment category lately? Like me, do you struggle with the difference between “needing” and “wanting”? If so, then perhaps like me; you need a daily reality check to remind you of just how blessed you are even in the midst of difficult situations.

Paul writes in Philippians 4:11 that he learned the secret to being content. So, what is the secret? It is thankfulness and gratefulness – for who God is and what He has already done. It is finding satisfaction in the basics; because God has already lavished us with forgiveness, eternal life, and a great reward in heaven. It is in heaven where we will wear a crown as “best in show” because we are judged by the perfect life and sacrifice of Christ.

Heavenly Father,

Thank you for loving me despite all my flaws. Forgive me for caring more what people think than what you think at times. Lord, I want to learn to be content no matter what circumstance I’m in, knowing that your love and forgiveness is the most important thing I can ever receive. Please help me Lord to see my blessings accurately and to also interpret the trials of life accurately as well. I can do all things through Christ as he gives me strength. Amen.

Write a list of ten ordinary things for which you are grateful or thankful right now. Imagine how many others across the globe do not have these blessings.