Have You Learned the Secret?

One of our unsung heroes at Denbigh is Hayward Glaspell,  His Jon as deacon of our building and grounds is, in his words, to “keep the building from returning to the nature from whence it came.” He does a great job doing just that, working quietly behind the scenes without much fanfare...or many thanks. I have one more reason to be indebted to Hayward this week; he fixed my office chair. Again. When the Family Room and office expansion was completed in 1991, Dad bought me a brand new, top-of-the-line HON ergonomic workstation chair that I’ve now parked my backside in for the last almost 30 years. The only problem is it’s almost thirty years old and it breaks… a lot. Hayward has replaced the arms, replaced upholstery, and replaced broken bolts. This week a bolt sheared and almost dumped me in the office floor! But by Wednesday I was back sitting in my good-as-new old chair. Thanks, Hayward! Why do I not just go out and buy a new chair? I don’t need one. I’m perfectly satisfied with my old chair.  A new chair wouldn’t make things easier or improve my life in the least. But that’s what our world (and the prince of this world) want us to believe, right? Life would be just so much easier and better if we could just get that new “widget” we can’t live without— new car, house, fashion, camper, boat, shoes, iPhone (I’ll stop now). But life doesn’t get any better with new things. We have proved time and time again that the statute of limitations on “new” is too short for new things to satisfy us. No matter how great a “new thing” might be, the one thing it cannot do is stay new!

The only thing that never gets old is contentment. Paul says, “But godliness with contentment is great gain.” (1 Tim 6:6). He also said, “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. I can do everything through him who gives me strength” (Phil 4:12-13). Notice that the “I can do all things through Christ” comes right after “I have learned the secret of being content.” Contentment is not our natural or normal state as human beings. It only comes when we, like Paul, learn to trust in Christ for the things we truly need and live as thankful for what we do have rather than looking to what we don’t have and want.

There’s nothing wrong with buying new things… especially new computers. What is wrong is expecting more from material things than they can give. May we learn to trust God more for what really matters. May we learn that the secret to life is not getting more but wanting less.