Contentment; The Surest Way to Be Happy
“Now the rabble that was among them had a strong craving; and the people of Israel also wept again, and said, ‘O that we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt for nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic; but now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at” (Numbers 11:4-6).
Taking a look at our first reading today, one might be tempted to readily condemn the Israelites for their show of ingratitude, but the fact is that their story is essentially our story.
Economists were not just blabbing when they reached a conclusion that Human needs are insatiable. No matter how much we get, we always feel we can have more. We never stop comparing ourselves with others, we never stop desiring things we don’t have even when we are yet to fully appreciate what we have.
The Israelites had just been freed from slavery, but so long as they did not have all the meat and fish they once relished, their freedom meant nothing to them.
The sad reality is that more than half of the things we have means nothing to us simply because we never take our time to count our blessings.
Until, we start taking stock of what God has done for us in the past, we are always going to find ourselves complaining all the time like the Israelites. When next I catch myself complaining, I need to really take some moments to look back and remind myself of things I am grateful for.
Gratitude is the cure for complaining and by extension, the cure for sadness.
And when we apply ample doses of gratitude when we are sad and depressed, the result we get is contentment. Being content does not mean that one has gotten everything he or she desires, but that one finds himself or herself in a state of true inner joy despite their external situation.
When the news of the gruesome death of John the Baptist came to Jesus, it really put him down. Jesus probably felt so depressed that He decided to withdraw to a quiet place all by Himself.
But then, people noticed where He was staying and decided to follow Him.
Still yet, Jesus did not put His personal depression above the needs of the people. Matthew says: “he had compassion on them and healed their sick…” Not only that, Jesus took upon Himself the task of providing food for them.
What was the secret of Jesus? How did He manage to attend to the great crowd despite being in a state of mourning? The secret is CONTENTMENT. Jesus did not have everything going well for Him, but somehow, He focused on the things He was grateful for, that way, He was able to rise above the immediate pain in His heart.
Being content, is not something that happens by chance.
It is something you do. Contentment is a deliberate act. Contentment is a decision; a decision to focus only on those things you are grateful for; a decision to ignore your problems and leave them for God rather than work yourself out trying to think of be the best solution; a decision to accept life at it is as knowing that God only permits what is best for you to happen to you.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, teach me to be grateful even when things are rough, Amen.
Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Monday of the 18th week in Ordinary time. Bible Study: Numbers 11:4-15, Ps. 81 and Matthew 14:13-21).