Learning to live a life of contentment

“Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them…” Matthew 6:26

Every Wednesday morning, at 6:00 a.m., come rain or shine, I open my laptop for a Bible Study with a couple of buddies via Zoom. Even Bible studies are done this way, during this time.

We get together to study scripture, but inevitably, we get to talking about life and share family updates. The three of us guys, roughly in the same age category, once worked for the same company until life took us to different cities and states.

Getting together this way made me think about what brings people together, things like common interests and shared experiences, and yes, even pandemics.

Between verses and our hypothesizing of what God is meaning to tell us, we open up about what is challenging us, what we fear, and the anxieties that fill our lives on what seems like a daily basis. And after hearing all this is, sometimes it makes me feel like we put most of this on ourselves.

Think of the farmer, in a tiny rural village, in a foreign country, who seemingly knows one thing — farming. His dad and grandad were farmers. His children are learning to be just like him. Farming is life, and life is farming.

On early mornings, really early, and in evenings during family dinners, the farmer has time away from sowing and plowing. That free time is spent with the family for which he has provided. His village is far away from big city centers, which means that his time isn’t spent driving back and forth for shopping, or just for getting around.

He doesn’t know much about politics or celebrities. He isn’t aware of the latest scandals on TV. His life worries are limited to his life. Each morning, he wakes up before the rest of us. The mornings are cold, the coffee is hot. Life seems simple to him, but to us, it looks like a life of challenges. Once in a while, when we get a glimpse of the farmer because he’s profiled in a documentary or magazine, we see something in him that we don’t see in us — contentment. We wonder, how can this be?

At our morning Bible study, we chat about this. We ask ourselves why our life is filled with so many pressures and worries. We wonder if it is us, each of us that has brought this on ourselves — our worries about what kind of home we live in, and what kind of car we drive. Our daily anxieties on whether we did good at work, and whether our efforts are pleasing to others.

As the three of us talk, and read, we wonder if we are not content because we don’t want to be, and because our focus is on the kinds of things that ultimately will never bring us a life of satisfaction.

Sometimes, at the end of a long day, I’d like to be that farmer, at the end of his long day. He worked, and he worked hard. The difference between the two of us is that he recognized that he did everything he did that day exactly the way he understood to do it and he did it well. He is happy. He lives his life in faith, not in fear, and he doesn’t worry about what will happen on the next day.

I’d like to be more like that farmer.

“Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them…” Matthew 6:26

People are interesting things. I write about them and what makes them interesting.

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