On being rich - JJ Landis
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On being rich

I tucked my two-year-old into bed. Many years ago, my first child. Our bedtime ritual – we would read a devotional and say a prayer. Sometimes a sippy cup of water was placed by her head for any nighttime thirst that might arise. (The second and third children never received such pampering. They had to suffer with a dry mouth till morning.) My daughter grew daring with age and developed a sense of want, knowing how to bargain with me. “Mama, can I have coke?” she asked. Stifling a laugh, I handed her water. She took a sip. “Mama, can I have juice?” She bravely asked, handing the cup back to me as she worked her way down the list of preferred beverages. Again, no. “Milk?” No. Out of options, she accepted the water.


“He is richest who is content with least,” said Socrates. Am I content with little? The basics? Water is purest, simplest. Healthiest. Those who can appreciate the “water” of their lives are rich. It is true that I am most content when I recognize the goodness of what I have instead of longing for something I don’t have. Even so, sometimes I get pangs of jealousy as I covet things I see other people enjoying. Don’t we all do this?

Paul wrote in Philippians 4:11-12:
“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.”

His phrase “learned the secret” tells us contentment does not just happen, but rather it’s a learned attitude. Our path to happiness and fulfillment is not the one through the land of consumerism, material wealth, and full bellies, but rather the lesser known road of acceptance and appreciation.

How about you? Can we be content with scarcity? Not just accepting the water over the soda, but actually embracing the nourishing meeknessof the simple?

I am rich.

2 Comments
  • Brenda Lazzaro Yoder,
    Posted at 11:32h, 24 July Reply

    JJ, I recently had this conversation with my oldest who recently came back from 8 weeks in Guatemala. While she is home, she longs to be back there. As she adjusts to changes, differences in culture, she is not wanting more, but learning to be content with where she is at now. That’s what I thought of as I read this. We talked about Paul’s statement of being content whether rich or poor, in need, or in plenty. It’s a challenge that is as old as humanity. Thanks for reminding me to be content with today.

  • KathyGo
    Posted at 11:50h, 20 July Reply

    Great post, J.J. A few years back I realized I had lost my happiness and felt content with nothing. After searching and changing many things in my life I remember being in the car one day and I had this feeling and it took me some time to figure out what I was feeling. It was happiness, contentness. That feeling hadn’t been around for awhile so I had forgotten what it was like. That was my richness, having found happiness, not with things, but with life.

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