Thad Yessa is a new dad, a weary seminary student, and an employee at a package delivery company whose busiest time of the year is now, and he's on our church staff where he supports all our church ministries. He writes from the viewpoint of a tired, often overworked, but joyful man.
The alarm clock goes off and immediately you start thinking of what a laborious day you are about to face. Perhaps, even before your feet hit the cold floor, your mind is racing about a project you have to complete at work, all of the bills that you need to pay, a meeting with a boss that you are less than enthusiastic to attend, or perhaps the amount of laundry that has been piling up for over a week. You may find yourself putting your pillow over your face exclaiming, “I just can’t even!” I am sure many of you can resonate with some aspect of the situation described. You wake up in the morning and feel defeated and discontent even before you get out of bed!
Take comfort, my friends--you are not alone. We live in a world that makes it very easy for even the smallest things to draw us away from being content. We're constantly surrounded by media that seems to promote a lifestyle that is better than our current one and will always bring contentment. They cause us to desire something more than we currently have. We have a longing for something better. We start finding ourselves making statements like, “If I only had a better job...” “If only my children would behave better…” “If only my house weren't falling apart...”
The world is onto something. They're right that we should want something better, but it's not anything they can offer us. The truth is we don't belong here. As sons and daughters of the King, we belong with Him. We long to dwell in His kingdom worshipping before Him, but for now are pilgrims serving our King here on earth until He brings us home.
You may be thinking, “How is this supposed to help me now, today?” We should turn to our buddy Paul.
I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me (Philippians 4:11–13).
If you know anything about the life of Paul, you know that when “every circumstance” is stated, he means every single one. The life of Paul we often praise was not a life of comfort. Paul was beaten, mocked, thrown in jail, and shipwrecked. If anyone had a right to be discontent, it was this guy. How could Paul write these words? Paul could say he was content because he knew he was saved through Jesus Christ. Paul knew through Christ that he had been brought into the family of God, and the privileges he has been given transcends any hardship this world can give or any treasure this world can offer.
Paul understood that no matter what trial we face it isn’t a waste. He knew that the affliction he faced on this earth was momentary in comparison to eternity. Every moment of hardship that we face has meaning.
As John Piper says, “Every millisecond of your pain from the fallen nature of the fallen man, every millisecond of your misery in the path of obedience is producing a peculiar glory that you will get because of that.” The difficulty is that we can’t see what it is producing.
My friend, what we need is to preach to ourselves that we are children of God! Our Father doesn’t allow for waste in our lives. Yes, I mean even paying the bills or folding laundry. God is using those moments to help us grow and find our contentment in Christ!! Life in Christ is not something we will only enjoy in heaven. If we have embraced Jesus and all he has done for us, we get that joy now!
Now when the alarm goes off or you are having a terrible day at work or you see a commercial offering a better life, remember the riches you have in Christ are better than any life you could imagine for yourself.
As always I welcome your feedback and any ideas you might have for an upcoming Lunchtime Musing.