By Chaplain (Capt.) Jeremy Dunn
Special to GUIDON
“But godliness with contentment is a great gain. For we brought nothing into the world and we can take nothing out. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these.” – 1 Timothy 6:6-8.
Our house has been blessed with two of the most wonderful creatures known to man, a Cocker Spaniel named Sam and a Jack Russell terrier named Lucy Too.
The other day I put their identical food in their identical bowls. I watched as Sam left his bowl and made his way to Lucy Too’s bowl which elicited a friendly reminder from Lucy to get back over to your own bowl.
A few minutes later I watched as Lucy Too left her bowl to approach Sam’s bowl which resulted in a growl from him. Two dogs, with identical food, in identical bowls, yet determined to pursue what belonged to the other.
I wonder how often we act like those silly dogs. We have a house, we have a car, we have clothes, and phones, and such and yet we want to gaze over the fence and see if the neighbor has it better.
We drive ourselves to the point of exhaustion in the pursuit of temporary gains. Maybe it’s a new phone or the latest TV. It could be a new car to replace the perfectly good one in the driveway. It might even be thinking excessively about the next assignment or duty station. We fall into the trap of obsessing over the next new shiny object and rob ourselves of the blessing of the present.
The context of the passage above is Paul reminding Timothy that becoming too enamored with the things of this world can capture a place in our hearts reserved for Christ.
The practical application of this story is that discontent makes us miserable because we lose sight of what we have and instead restlessly pursue what can never satisfy.
Real peace comes when we, “run from these things, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness.
Fight the good fight for the faith; take hold of eternal life,” 1 Timothy 6:11.
Lord, let our lives reflect a pursuit of that which is eternal so that we find rest in you.
(Editor’s note: Dunn is the battalion chaplain for the 1st Battalion, 48th Infantry Regiment.)