The most toured home in America is .
. . you guessed it . . . the White House. Do you
know what the second most toured home is in America?
The second most toured home in America is in
Memphis, Tennessee and itís the 23 room home of
the King of Rock and RollóElvis Presley. (Thank you,
thank you very much.)
Graceland is toured by hundreds of people every day
and a total of 15 million dollars a year is brought
in by those visiting the estate. Elvis seemed to
have it all: money, airplanes, gold records, cars,
mansions. But most of us know how that story ended.
In fact, if you go fifty yards from the back door of
Graceland you find a tombstone. August 16, 1977,
just 42 years old! An overdose of pills! Depression!
Plague with discontentment! He had as much as
anybody in his time, and still he said at one point,
"I would give a million dollars for one day of
peace." It appears that he never did find what he
was looking for.
Paul writes, ďFor 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 wantĒ (Philippians 4:11Ė12).
Circle the word ďlearnedĒ above. Paul said I have
learned to be content no matter what state Iím in.
No matter what state? So if youíre in Illinois, or
Michigan or Hawaii or Florida . . . be content?
Paulís writing to people like us. He says we can
LEARN to be content. It sounds to me like this isnít
a natural outcome for us . . . and the truth is,
itís not automatic for anyone. Itís something that
has to be learned.
If Paul learned it, that means he wasnít always that
content but it was something he was able to grow in.
Yet just as contentment is learned, discontentment
is also learned. And I would even argue that itís
contagious. Whenever Iím around discontented people,
I know I canít spend much time with them because
that attitude starts to rub off on me. ďYeah . . .
youíre right . . . my life does stink. This world is
a mess. Our country is falling apart.Ē And on it
This is why I like to start my day
with the Good News before I read the bad news. I
need a solid helping of Godís Good News in order to
help properly process all the bad news. I need to
see Godís big picture first before I can deal with a
close picture of the world around me. When I started
reading the bible first, I found contentment was
easier to obtain. My advice is simple; read the
Bible before you read the newspaper.
So what does God say about
contentment? "Godliness with contentment is great
gain" (I Timothy 6:6Ė8). ďKeep your lives free from
the love of money and be content with what you haveĒ
I am not by nature a contented person and neither
are you. Thatís why we work at it.
Time to bust a quick myth. Contentment is not
apathy, laziness, or complacency. Itís good to have
goals. Itís good to work hard and achieve. But donít
make your happiness based on chasing rabbits around
the track; like a pack of dogs with
no direction. After all, if we learn anything from
the King of Rock and Roll, itís to slow down. A
person with six children can be more contented than
a person with six million dollars.
Everyone has a good list and a bad list in life.
Regardless of which list is longer right now, make a
commitment to focus on the good list today and be
contented. God probably knows what heís saying will
benefit you more this day.
[Ron Otto, Preaching
minister at Lincoln Christian Church in Lincoln]