Little arms like to wrap themselves around big things. There’s the Matchbox car, which is fine, and then there’s the combine harvester. There’s playing with a doll in a bucket of water, and then there’s putting on a wedding dress.
We were five, and though our bodies were small, our dreams were big. Great battles, great occasions, great mountains, and great monsters. These are the stuff of childhood dreams.
There was a time when King David rode into town giving thanks to God for the conquest of ten thousand. In later years he was simply thankful for a warm bed (1 Kings 1:1). And my great-grandfather, a veteran of the war, was not putting it on when his eyes lit up at the gift of a stone or a seashell.
From five to fifty, and a curious thing has happened. Quite unexpected and unplanned, but I notice that I no longer dream of slaying Leviathan or climbing mountains. Instead, I lie on my bed at night thanking God for the roof, or a ripe tomato, or a chair.
It’s not weariness, or resignation, or necessity or decay. It’s some kind of letting go. It’s (ironically) a childlike joy over the lesser things.
“He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30)
I still hope in God for big things. But I am learning contentment by needing and wanting less, not more.
Jesus walked the earth raising the dead, turning water into wine, and celebrating God’s goodness with great feasting. But when it came to His final hour and the most extraordinary of all His works; when it came time to throw down the devil and defeat sin through death on a cross; right when He was in the middle of recreating heaven and earth, yes, at that moment, Jesus turned to His disciple John and said, “look after mum.”
John would, of course, go on to greater things, but not before the lesser things. Godliness and contentment here would provide the foundation for godliness and contentment there (Luke 16:10).
And so I am discovering contentment here. I am learning to be glad and thankful and take care of that thing in front of me today.
Now if the good Lord should add godliness to that contentment I will consider it great gain (1 Timothy 6:6).