In her column, Ask Marilyn, Marilyn vos Savant gave an interesting perspective on contentment. One reader wrote in about a unique experiment she had conducted after being dissatisfied that her neighbor’s yard looked better than her own. She did what few have done and walked next door to look back at her own grass. When she stood in her neighbor’s yard, the grass in her own yard now looked greener than theirs so she asked, “Why does this occur?”
The story is told about a pilot who always looked down intently on a certain valley in the Appalachians when the plane passed overhead. One day his co-pilot asked, “What’s so interesting about that spot?” The pilot replied, “See that stream? Well, when I was a kid I used to sit down there on a log and fish. Every time an airplane flew over, I would look up and wish I were flying... Now I look down and wish I were fishing.”
Russell Conwell told of an ancient Persian, Ali Hafed, who owned a very large farm that had orchards, grain fields, and gardens. Ali was a wealthy and content man. One day Ali entertained a guest who told him all about diamonds and how wealthy he would be if he owned a diamond mine. Ali Hafed went to bed that night a poor man—poor because he was discontented.
Craving a mine of diamonds, he sold his farm to search for the rare stones. He traveled the world over, finally becoming so poor, broken, and defeated that he committed suicide.
On November 4, 2010, Eunice Sandborn became the world’s oldest living person. She celebrated her 114th birthday in July, 20, 2010, at her church, First Baptist, in Jacksonville, Texas. Eunice says that she not only loves everything about her life, but she also has “no complaints.” If she had wanted to complain, she would have had many things accumulate throughout her 114 years to complain of. Yet, this lady has demonstrated that complaining is a choice.
Source: Houston Chronicle, November 5, 2010
“Don’t be guilty of comparing your accomplishments or performances with those of any other preacher. To do so is to lessen your own effectiveness and frustrate the grace of God. You are you, and to attempt to become more is to become less.”—Dr. Raymond Barber
Source: Profile of a Preacher, Dr. Raymond Barber
A man once saw a bald eagle soaring in circles. The circles began to tighten and the man looked over to see a weasel. Suddenly the eagle dropped out of the sky like a jet and caught the weasel in its talons. Amazingly, as the eagle began to fly away the weasel began to eat away at the breast of that eagle. The man watched as the weasel tore away at that eagle, snapping bones, and chewing flesh. He watched the eagle fold up and crash and the weasel went on with his day.
Duke University did a study on “peace of mind.” Factors found to contribute greatly to emotional and mental stability are:
1. The absence of suspicion and resentment. Nursing a grudge was a major factor in unhappiness.
2. Not living in the past. An unwholesome preoccupation with old mistakes and failures leads to depression.
3. Not wasting time and energy fighting conditions you cannot change. Cooperate with life, instead of trying to run away from it.
A devout Quaker was watching his new neighbor move in next door. After all kinds of modern appliances, electronic gadgets, plush furniture, and costly wall hangings had been carried in, the onlooker called out, “If you find you’re lacking anything, neighbor, let me know and I’ll show you how to live without it.”
“If we would find content[ment], let us go to homes where women are crippled with rheumatism, or dying of cancer, where comforts are few, where long hours of loneliness are not broken by the intrusion of friendly faces, where the pittance of public charity hardly suffices for necessary need, to say nothing of comfort, it is there that contentment reveals itself like a shy flower. How often in the homes of the wealthy one has missed it, to find it in the homes of the poor! How often it is wanting where health is buoyant, to be discovered where disease is wearing out the strength!
In the 1880s a young man who was an earnest Christian found employment in a pawnshop. Although he disliked the work, he did it faithfully as unto the Lord until a more desirable opportunity opened for him. To prepare himself for a life of Christian service, he wrote on a scrap of paper the following resolutions: “I do promise God that I will rise early every morning to have a few minutes—not less than five—in private prayer.
John Wesley was about 21 years of age when he went to Oxford University. He came from a Christian home, and he was gifted with a keen mind and good looks. Yet, in those days he was a bit snobbish and sarcastic. One night, however, something happened that set in motion a change in Wesley’s heart. While speaking with a porter, he discovered that the poor fellow had only one coat and lived in such impoverished conditions that he didn’t even have a bed. Yet, he was an unusually happy person, filled with gratitude to God. Wesley, being immature, thoughtlessly joked about the man’s misfortunes.