Bob Russel tells a story about a farmer who once grew discontent on his farm.*
The lake needed to be stocked and managed and the farm itself was an incredible amount of work. It was hilly, the cows needed tending, and the fences needed mending. He decided he was unhappy and wanted to move somewhere else.
So a real-estate agent came in to help him sell. The farmer showed her around, talked about his life and farm, and then the agent went away to get things ready.
A few days later she came back because she needed approval for the wording for the listing. She read the ad which described a “lovely farm in an ideal location—quiet and peaceful, contoured with rolling hills, carpeted with soft meadows, nourished by a fresh lake, and blessed with well-bred livestock.”
The farmer paused. He wanted her to read it to him a second time. After hearing it again he said, “I’ve changed my mind. I’m not going to sell. I’ve been looking for a place like that my whole life.”
I love that story. Like the farmer, we can look around at our lot in life and only see the problems—when really, God has already given us so much, including the peace and strength he offers in Christ.
To the Philippians, Paul writes, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:11-13).
Whoever you are, I’m sure you’ve got some troubles. I’m not saying you don’t. But I truly believe that we often just need a change in perspective to help us see what God has already given us, including the peace and strength he offers us in Christ.
“I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances…. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
And so can you.
By Matthew Ruttan
—This Sunday I’m offering Part 1 in an in-depth series on Jesus’ Parable of the Sower. It’s called “Crop.” Check out this 1-minute YouTube video about what to expect.
–“Up!” is published 5 days a week (Monday-Friday) and returns on October 7.
–Bibles quotes are from the NIV.
–*Bob Russell with Rusty Russell, Money: A User’s Manual (Sisters, OR: Multnomah, 1997), 69.