Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
~Hebrews 13:5 (NIV)
“Mommy I don’t want buns, I want ponytails!” From the driver’s seat of my parked car, I turned and looked back at my four-year-old incredulously. “What did you say?” I asked. “I want ponytails, I don’t want buns in my hair!”
“I know this girl is NOT sitting up here complaining about her beautiful hair when I just spent the money and time taking her to the salon so her hair could look so nicely and neatly braided,” I thought to myself.
I took a deep breath and launched into a mini lesson (read, lecture) on why it was important to be grateful for what we do have, and not always focused on what we don’t have, instead. The “lesson” included phrases like “you should appreciate your hair” and “mommy didn’t have to take you to the salon” and “I’m sure there are a lot of little girls who would love…” You get the picture.
“Do you understand?” I finally asked her, swinging my body back around in my seat and pressing the start button, all in one indignant motion. I began to drive and immediately started my internal monologue about my four-year-old and what I could do to make her really appreciate the things that she’s been given. Then I thought about God. And human beings. And how we’re just like my ungrateful, precious little girl.
How many times do we think “oh, if only I had her job” or “I’d be feeling great too, if I had her body” or “I mean, can I live in a house like that?” Those thoughts ricochet around my brain daily, while I constantly overlook all of the great things I do have. I have to frequently remind myself that God didn’t have to give me anything–not gainful employment, not healthy children, not a loving husband, not healthy parents, nor great friends.
Don’t get me wrong: ambition certainly has its rightful place in our lives. I don’t think God called us to be complacent–never trying to better ourselves or achieve more for his glory. However, I do think God calls us to be content while we climb, to be grateful as we grasp for greater. He wants us to stop covetously looking at everyone else’s lives, and realize, as Hebrews 13 reminds us, that we have the best gift of all: his presence.
So maybe instead of lecturing my little munchkin, I’ll set the example for her. Thank you, Lord, for all that you have given me. You didn’t have to bless my life in the ways that you have, and I am so grateful for what you’ve done for me. And most of all, I am grateful for you. Amen.