Finding Contentment in a Holy Life

Georgina Maria Domingos cares for her daughter Maria Costa at their home in the Cacilhas village near Huambo, Angola. Photo by Mike DuBose, United Methodist News Service.

Georgina Maria Domingos cares for her daughter Maria Costa at their home in the Cacilhas village near Huambo, Angola. Photo by Mike DuBose, United Methodist News Service.

Philippians 4:11b “…I have to be content with whatever I have…”

Have you ever counted the number of products it takes to get out the door in the morning? Soap, body wash, toothpaste, mouth wash, shampoo and conditioner, shaving cream, moisturizer, mousse or gel, hair spray, deodorant, body lotion, powder, after shave or cologne… and we’ve not even started on make-up! And recently, Madison Avenue has convinced us that none of us have teeth that are white enough.

Take a survey of your bathroom and estimate the cost of the products you use every day. You will be astounded at the dollar figure you discover that you spend mindlessly on products that we’ve come to view as necessities.

Small wonder that it is easy for us to be content with what we have. Even if we make the “sacrifice” of using store brands instead of name brands, our shelves are bending under the weight of luxuries that we deem necessities.

One of the important life lessons that is attached to the Imagine No Malaria ministry is the stark truth of how little ordinary people of Africa have. They have a totally different understanding of what the Apostle meant about contentment.

Regardless of how difficult our lives might be, if preventing a terrible disease meant covering our beds in netting, there are very few of us who could not make it happen before too many pay checks came and went. Our generosity in sending mosquito nets will not cause undue hardship for many of us. Perhaps we can use this campaign as a time for re-ordering our perceived needs and the amount of our resources we invest in pampering ourselves.

Prayer: Gracious and generous God, show us what is needed for a holy, content life. Make us careful of our needs and giving of our means. In Jesus, who gave the most. Amen.

Rev. Dr. Jaime Potter Alvarez, Pennsylvania