On Contentment (Aug 2006)

Ever since I was young I thought I was something special. Don’t get me wrong, I know that every person is a unique and beautiful snowflake (contrary to what Tyler Dirden might say). I’m talking about the fact that I thought I was going to be famous, or at least make an impact in the world that would make me somehow better than others. This is called pride.

I’ve gone through different phases of this belief. When I was young I thought that I would be an actress or a musician, something that would put me in the spotlight. Later, when I realized I wasn’t either of those things, I thought I would be a famous scientist who would make some amazing discovery that would change the way the world thinks. The latest reincarnation was that I would have a job in which I would help people overcome obstacles. This last one also had a research, publish, become well-known among your peers attachment.

I wasn’t a Christian growing up, so my “I’m better than others,” attitude didn’t bother me as much as it does now. When I became a Christian about five years ago a lot of things changed, but this is one thing that I couldn’t get rid of. You see, people read the Bible and go to Bible studies and church and they somehow get the idea out of certain passages that God has a special plan for their lives. I believe this to be true, but recently I have come to interpret it differently than most.

God has a plan for me and for you and for every person who is a member of His body. Some are eyes or ears or hands, that is, some are preachers, some are servants, some are teachers. I have certain gifts that some others don’t have and there are plenty of gifts that others have that I don’t. That’s okay. We’re all different and God has a unique plan for us within his church. I do not now believe that God’s plan for me means that I will have a specific vocation or that He will give me a special job. What if His “plan” for us is only what He has for us to do for Him within His kingdom? For some that would mean a specific job (pastor, missionary); but for others it would probably mean loving people in your workplace, raising children, feeding the hungry. You don’t need a specific job to do most things in His body.

So, this is where contentment comes in. I am learning that I don’t need to have a special job where I help people, or where I’m recognized, or where I’m famous. If loving people Jesus’s way means meeting their specific needs at that specific moment (and I think it does), then I can do that anywhere, anytime. I don’t need to get another degree because I think that God wants me to have a helping job. I can help people in the job I have now. I don’t have to have a job that makes people go, “Oh, that sounds really interesting,” or, “Wow, I could never do that.” Also, I don’t have to be ashamed that my current job isn’t important or exciting or that it doesn’t pay well. If I like it, then I’m probably going to be better able to serve others and love them in it. Besides, people in the Biblical churches had day jobs and were told to lead a quiet life, mind their own business and work with their hands (1 Thessalonians 4:11). Why should I be any different?

Paul said in Philippians 4:12, “I have learned to be content in any and every situation…” I’m not there yet, but I’m on my way.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Mysterious, All Right « After the Ecstasy, the Laundry . . .

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