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  • Shawn Thornton

Life's a Rock, Get Over It

Friday - June 18th

Scripture to Read Today: Philippians 4:4-13

I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. 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 4:11-12


Long ago, I learned my father did not need many material possessions or creature comforts to be content. He is a simple man with meager expectations for his living situation. He just needs a set of clothes, a meal or two a day, water to drink, and a place to lay his head. While others might say they need very little to survive in life, my father means it.


Growing up, our family did without some things others might consider the basics. For example, our septic system did not work for an entire year, so we did not have a working toilet in our house. Instead, we used a portable toilet we took along when we went camping. In addition, some of the pipes had frozen under our house one winter. As a result, we could not run water in the kitchen sink or use our washing machine for a couple of years without the water draining into the cellar below our house.


Instead of washing the dishes in the kitchen sink, we washed them in our bathtub. Trust me; you don't want to know about the problems with our bathtub. You would then question (even more than you already have) our method of cleaning the dishes in the tub.


My paternal grandmother volunteered to wash and dry our clothes until we got the drainage fixed for the washing machine. Unfortunately, the drainage wasn't resolved for a couple of years. Just as it was, the dryer stopped working. So Grandma simply continued to wash and dry our family's clothes for a couple more years.


While dad was guilty of some procrastination regarding repairs to our septic tank, other plumbing issues, and fixing the dryer, financial challenges for our family played a role in the delays. But, again, my dad approaches life with simple contentment that most do not have. He does not have enormous demands on the basics of his life circumstances.


Mom found herself frustrated often by these inconveniences. My brother, Troy, and I took this kind of stuff as being a typical part of American households in the 1970s. So you can imagine how surprised we were to discover that this level of household dysfunction was all but normal.


Maybe my father's contentment went a bit far. Actually, yes, he was a bit too complacent about our situation at times. But, he taught my brother and me the importance of being content in whatever situation we find ourselves. As Paul said in Philippians 4:12, we who are in Christ should be able to say, "I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation." Dad's philosophy, which he stated many times to Troy and me while we were growing up, was that "Life's a rock, get over it." While that can be a bit of a radical philosophy of contentedness, it did help us face the reality that life is not always pleasant. Not everything works out the way you plan or hope it would.


In Christ, we can be content. My story might be a bit extreme, but the fundamental premise that we should find our peace, joy, and satisfaction in our Lord is not radical. Life has its challenges. It can be a rock. We do need to adapt and get over it. But, that is only accomplished through rooting our contentedness in Jesus Christ.


How content are you? Contentedness is discovered in how we relate to Christ, not how we relate to our circumstances!

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