Can you remember?
Do you recall that uncomfortable gift exchange? All of your family members received something they really wanted, and all you got was that practical present. You know the kind; the one you may have actually needed, but didn’t want, especially for the holiday gifting season. Can you still remember focusing on what they got instead of what was in your hands?
A Time to Reflect
Do you think a lot about the gifts you’ve given and received? Do you obsess about what you don’t have? Do all the marketing messages that surround you focus your eyes in the wrong place and zap your contentment?
These are things we often think about at Thanksgiving – and the consumer oriented holidays that have grown up around it: Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Discipleship author, Barry Cooper, cites a poll of Americans that asked them how much they would need to realize the “American Dream.”
Those who earned $25,000 a year said it would take $54,000 a year. Those who made $100,000 a year believed it would take $192,000 a year.
In other words, the poll indicated that most people think that it will take about twice as much as they currently have!
The Biblical Secret of Contentment
The Apostle Paul makes a remarkable statement about contentment:
“I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” Philippians 4:12
We need that secret today.
A first hint of that secret is found in Philippians 4:6: “In everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” There is a direct correlation between giving thanks and experiencing contentment.
A second hint is found in Philippians 4:19, where Paul speaks of the riches we have “in Christ Jesus.” Or, as Barry Cooper says in Discipleship Explored, “I am in Christ. I’m unimaginably rich in Him!”
As you reflect upon gifts and giving during this holiday season, may you consider yourself rich in Christ and may this secret of contentment bless you greatly and become for you an eternal source of gratitude. Happy Thanksgiving!