BY SISTER LAURETTA LEIPZIG
“Some people are like thermometers, some like thermostats,” wrote a psychologist. “Thermometers allow the environment to change us while thermostats indicate change that takes place around us.” We ask ourselves: Which one depicts our walk in life? Do we allow the situations of life to change us for the good or possibly change us adversely? Do we stand firm in our trust and our faith no matter the circumstances? In the Christian thinking we are talking about contentment with what God gives us. Saint Paul was a perfect example of contentment. His life was harsh, hard and harrowing. Actually, his life was at stake every waking minute. Paul tells us in the Scriptures that he learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, having abundance and suffering great need – all because he believed completely in the words, “I can do all things in him who constantly gives me strength.” Paul possessed an inner sense of peace which comes from being right with God and knowing God is in control of all that happens.
A rich industrialist was disturbed to find a fisherman sitting lazily beside his boat. He asked him, “Why aren’t you out there fishing?” “I caught fish today and don’t need to catch more. What would I do with more?” “Earn more money,” came the answer. “Buy a better boat. Go deeper and catch more fish and become wealthy.” When the man looked quizzically at the fisherman, the fisherman asked, “Then what would I do?” The man thought he had the perfect answer this time. “Sit and enjoy life,” he said. With a smile on his face, the fisherman retorted, “What do you think I’m doing right now?”
We need not be a prophet to know that the vast majority of us are struggling with being content. Deep down, we grapple with trusting God and believing God knows what is best for us and always does what is for our good. Perhaps that’s because we often tend to look horizontally at what others have and so we are never fully satisfied. Rather, we are told that if we look at life vertically we are then looking up at God who promises us that he is enough for us. Spiritual writers name this Contentment of the Heart. It is a peace that comes from knowing God is bigger than any problem we might have and God works everything out for our good. We are gifted with a joy in spite of the circumstances. Someone once noted that “In America, your worst day could very well be better than the best day in most places in the world.” That statement makes us think and, in turn, appreciate all we have been given as gifts and be thankful for everything, rather than naming the things we don’t have and complaining. Someone once said, “It is a rare person who, when his or her cup frequently runs over, can give thanks to God instead of complaining about the limited size of the cup.” Let us not be that complaining person! Let us be a contented, thankful person! Remind ourselves this week: Gratitude turns what we have into enough!