I remember my first visit to the place. They had literally nothing. No luxuries – not even most of the basics of a “normal life” that I would take for granted and that are a given in my world. The comforts of home just did not exist for many.
I remember how content the people were in spite of what, in my opinion, was mising from their lives – in many cases things that were considered ‘the basic necessities’ in my world.
I remember the impact this had on my life. I realized how blessed I was to live in the nation that I do. I came to appreciate even more all that I do take for granted and which I see, in some ways, as my “right to have” even when it really is not a right.
I remember the change I decided to make make at that time. I decided that I would no longer complain about things in this nation or things in my life. That I would be much more aware of how blessed I really am and how much I had when compared to probably 90% of the world. I made up my mind that I would be very careful about my attitude and the words that I spoke and that I would begin to express gratitude for what I did have and not complain about what I wanted but didn’t have.
I remember listening to a sermon from Skyline Wesleyan Church and Dr. John Maxwell (now pastored by Dr. Jim Garlow) entitled “Content or Discontent – Which Tent Do You Live In” based on Paul’s comment in Philippians 4:11-13. It impacted my life and helped me to drastically alter my life-style starting with the way I thought and the words I spoke but certainly not limited to these areas. My consumption of material things, my need for another book, another trinket, the latest electronic gaget (I still have my original iPod that weighs a ton and has absolutely none of the features of the much newer iPod Nano’s), and all the other “confort things” we fill our lives and homes with. Not needed – not basic – don’t miss them.
The other day I was reading up on some things I was praying for … and read something that seriously reinforced my decision those many years ago. It came from www.prayerinitiative.com and it went as follows:
“Zimbabwe is in the midst of unprecedented political and economic turmoil. The inflation rate is at 231 million percent, 94 percent of the nation in unemployed, and 3,400 people have died in a recent cholera outbreak….”
Once again I realized how blessed we are even in the midst of our so-called economic troubles and stock market downturns… That we still have the very basics of life and still live in a way that places us in the top 10% of the world’s population. And, I was able, due to my simpler life-style based on having chosen to live in “content” and not be consumer oriented and purchase so many of the extras that are constantly being advertised, to give even more to Christian mission work overseas where the need is so much greater.
Content or Discontent – which tent do you live in?