It happened before I was born, but as a kid I heard the story many times. About my dad, mom and sister rumbling down the Oklahoma highway in a Studebaker headed for grandma’s house. The sweet smell of summer streaming through the car’s open window. My sister’s cherub-blonde hair whipping across her face. No car seat laws for children back then, she was standing in the front seat beside my dad as he drove when she seized the moment as only a toddler can.
Reaching for the car keys, she jerked them from the ignition, and gleefully sent them sailing out the window.
For a few hundred feet, the old, coke-bottle green Studebaker kept rolling down the road. Oblivious to the fact that that its keys had gone missing. Unperturbed by my dad hollering, hammering the steering wheel, and stomping on the brakes. It yawned, stretched, and coasted to a stop.
I don’t know this for sure, but I suspect my mother dozed through the hubbub. (She could sleep through the apocalypse in a moving car.) Most likely she awoke in confusion and called out to my dad as he searched the bar ditch on hands and knees getting grass stains on his khaki pants, “Honey, did we lose something?”
Good question. Well, maybe it wasn’t a good one right then…but now it seems brilliant to me. Especially for us as contemporary believers because anybody can look around and see that we’ve lost some really important things. Take contentment, for example. Where is that these days? Did we jerk it out of the ignition while motoring down the highway of prosperity and chuck it out the window? Did we decide somewhere along the way that we just don’t need it anymore?
I got to wondering about that yesterday. I was reading an article about people who live to be over 100 and what a contented bunch they are. According to a recent study, they tend to have shockingly “sunny outlooks.” Particularly when it comes to finances, they “derive a remarkable amount of happiness from the…resources available to them — even if those resources are often limited.”
Imagine it. These happy, old geezers can say just like Paul said: I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.
Is that even possible anymore in our circles? Can we learn to navigate the road to financial blessing and, at the same time, be content with such things as we have? Can we find the grace to be happy—right now…with our current bank balance…at our current job…in the midst of our current circumstances?
The Bible makes it clear, such contentment is a vital key to increase. It’s as vital as faith. As vital as confession. Without it, our forward progress grinds to a halt.
Maybe we should spend some extra time on our knees finding our contentment again so that, like that old green Studebaker, we can get moving on down the road.