Matthew 5:5 (the message)
“You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are–no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.”
Birds are chirping. My neighborhood is still relatively quiet. Like sitting on an old friend’s couch, I think I need to do this more often. There are two old rocking chairs on my deck. As I was sitting in one I decided the other could be where Jesus sits. Smile…not being weird…just trying to imagine what in my heart I know is true. He’s with me. My best friend. Most trusted companion.
As my husband was conducting his morning rounds before leaving for work (checking out his garden, re-staking tomato plants, etc) I walked over to look at a pollen-covererd bumble bee he wanted to show me. Before I got over to the squash plants it had moved. One part of my heart was glanced back at those chairs…I need to get over there before I have to get in gear for the day. But the other part of my heart, I suspect the more tender Jesus-hearing part, impressed upon my thoughts that Jesus was smiling as I took the time to gladly walk over to join Shannon in the “rounds.” Sometimes I can be so anxious for “being spiritual” that I forget to actually be spiritual.
Last night, as I was cooking dinner, I listened to a podcast message by Pastor Judah Smith of The City Church. It was called “Squares, Shares and Spheres.” I don’t exactly remember how I came across Pastor Judah…wait yes I do. A friend suggested I listen to a sermon she heard of his about “staying in the boat” and trusting God when you aren’t where you used to be but haven’t reached where you are going. Anyway, I subscribe to his podcasts on iTunes and occasionally remember to actually listen! The message I listened to last night was meaningful to me…awesome, really. As in I made copies for a couple of friends. Your “sphere” being the part of the planet or measure of influence God gives you in life. He talked about how knowing your sphere is very freeing. Because once you know who you are and what God has given you, then you are free to be yourself. No need to compare and contrast with others. There is a quiet confidence about someone who knows who they are in Christ.
This morning I am reminded of the verse above. Proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.
So often we try to find contentment in ways that can be obtained or accomplished or controlled by our own hands. So often we compare ourselves to others and end up with one of two burdens to carry: condemnation or pride. If we are more attractive, skinnier, have nice materials goods, are better educated or know more Bible verses we end up in pride. If we are less attractive, wear a bigger size, live in a smaller house, have less status or position or need to check the table of contents in church we feel condemned. When we live this way it’s a roller coaster of a life dependent on the people around us.
Contentment is not to be had in coming out on top of the comparison game. It’s not found in reaching out beyond the current “sphere” God has given us or placed us in. Contentment is really not found in striving to be better or different, even with perhaps good intentions. I believe contentment is absolutely found as Jesus said in the verse above…when we let go and decide to be ourself…trusting that God is shaping us and will bring any changes needed if we allow Him. Trusting that Jesus will show us who we are and that can only be seen as we see Him. What are those things we might own as we grow content with who we are? What might we have, that we can in no other way obtain, as our focus turns to who Jesus is and we forget about who we are and are not.
Freedom…that quiet confidence…peace…joy…divine purpose…wisdom…discernment. An ability to enjoy life!
Jesus, help me to recognize the moments when I engage in comparing myself with others or their sphere. I trust You to be at work in my heart today, re-routing the roots of my life so that the nourishment of my soul is drawn from You and You only. Thank you for making me, me. And thank you that as I let go and grow more and more content in being myself, no more and no less, You have greater opportunity to shine and flow in my life….please make my life one about You. One where I remember the act of loving others in real life and being myself while doing it makes You smile. I love you.