I think that most of you know that for most of our married life Mark and I worked for a mission organisation where no one was paid an income. Everyone in the organisation was self funded and responsible to raise their own financial support. God provided beautifully for us over the years but it did mean that sometimes money was tight.
In those days if we wanted to go on holidays we would often house-sit for people and we were looking forward to one of those occasions after a particularly busy time. I clearly remember the day before we were about to go on holidays sitting in Mark’s office feeling glum. We had a place to stay but no money to buy groceries. Suddenly, someone knocked on the office door and a young man gave us $50 towards our holiday. We were overjoyed at this unexpected yet timely gift. Our mood changed instantly and dramatically. It then occurred to me that this small bit of paper ($50) had such power to change our emotions. I could see that my peace and joy were dependent on my circumstance. Surely this wasn’t right.
I wonder if people’s pursuit of money, pleasure and material things comes with the hope that achieving these things will change their mood and bring them peace and joy. Perhaps it will for a short while but as Ecclesiastes tells us it doesn’t last. I can say with absolute confidence that it’s going to take more than $50 to change my mood today!
Paul states in the book of Philippians that he had learnt the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. (Philippians 4:11-12) I wonder if his secret to contentment lay in his rich relationship with God, knowing that He is the source of true peace and joy regardless of the circumstance.
I would like to say that like Paul, I’ve learnt contentment and that my peace is not determined by my circumstance but I’m a far cry from this. The series on Ecclesiastes has been a wonderful reminder to me that only God truly satisfies and only He is steadfast and unchanging.