I used to have this button that hung on my name tag lanyard. It said, “The best things in life aren’t things.” I have to say I wore it more for myself than for other people. Yes, I do like ‘things,’ it reminded me, but just how important are ‘things’ in the wholeness of life?
What is it that makes me content, really content, deep down, through and through?
Is our mind content when we read a good book? Enjoy good conversation? When it drifts in the beauty of nature on a drive through the mountains? How complete is that contentedness – really?
And what about our spirits? “My soul is restless until it rests in You, O God” – a saying of a faithful church leader of long ago – resounds in my head as I ask myself: “How complete is your spiritual contentedness?”
Listen to the voice of seven-year old Anna as we were discussing how God talks to us through our bodies, minds and spirits. I was running the puppet theater and she came up to talk to “Story Bear” right after puppet time. To the best of my recollection, here’s what she said, “My spirit’s like my underwear. It’s under everything. When it feels good, everything’s good.”
Or how about Jeff (not his real name), who had won $21 million in the lottery a year or so before.
He came to talk to me one Sunday afternoon a few years ago, “Yeah, I got all the stuff I always said I’d get if I ever won a bunch of money. I got the cool car, the look – y’know what I mean now – and I got the ladies. I got me the mansion-house, the boat. I got it all. But I got nothin’. Nothin’ that matters. My brother died, and all that stuff couldn’t save him. Not one bit of it. I know. I tried. Then I cried. Then I got down on my knees. And then – then God let me know what matters. All that stuff, it’s just a tool. Just God an’ me. Together. So preacher, I wanna know, how can my stuff serve God? Yeah, I know, it can’t, not by itself. But I can. And I will. And that’ll be everything ‘cause that’ll be a God-thing. Yeah, I reckon it will.”
With that, he thanked me, left, and I never saw him again. But I will never forget the beautiful radiant smile that lit him up. I could just see it and feel it – God at work through him, the Holy Spirit shining in his eyes!
Anna would (I’m sure of it) say that Jeff “found his underwear.” I hope that wherever she is, she’s never lost her sense of what’s “under everything.” I hope that light I saw shining in Jeff is still bright with the Holy Spirit.
Take a moment (or two) to let these words from Matthew, chapter 5, verse 5 sift through your thoughts for a moment: “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.” (The Message Version)
So how about it: how’s the state of your spirit? Deep down, bone-and-spirit deep — content?
The truth is that our souls ARE restless until they rest in God! We have the choice – God has given it to us.
So I ask you (and myself): How content are you? How close is your God-and-spirit connection? What are you doing about that? Spend some time this week with God. You’ll feel it. You’ll know it. True and deep contentedness. Everything that can’t be bought; underneath it all, that’s what really matters – our spiritual underwear!