Having just completed our book on our lives in Africa I was reminded of all of the ways God has blessed our lives. He mostly uses our fellow Christians, but so many times he has also blessed us through those outside of our Christian family.
Reviewing some old letters for our book I ran across some thoughts I had written 20 years ago while preparing to leave Kenya, they went something like this: “We have discussed just what we will miss when leaving Kenya. It’s not a long list until we come to the people. We have gained many good friends and brothers and sisters in Christ. Part of our hearts will remain with them always; we have come to love the country through the people we have met.”
In the same way I wrote, “We have discussed what we will enjoy most about being back in the States. The list again is short, but mostly it is about being with our family and our Christian brothers and sisters. As I reflect, it occurs to me that the things we appreciate both in Kenya and the United States are the people. Physical things always come in second in our lives… which is the way it should be.”
The Apostle Paul wrote these words 2,000 years ago and they still help guide our lives. Philippians 4:11-13, “I am not saying this because I am in need, for 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; I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
In our hearts we know it is true don’t we? We know it will never really be having things which will make us happy or causes us to give thanks to God. It is always relationships that matter the most, it is relationships that fill our hearts and will go through eternity with us.
So really it’s the same this season as with all the rest of the year isn’t it? Whether we are in need or have plenty, whether we are satisfied or lose it all makes no lasting difference. We can rejoice and give thanks to God, because our happiness, our contentment comes from relationships, both with other people and with our God. And right now, I’m thankful for each of you who let me be part of your lives throughout the whole of every year.
Russ Lawson is a volunteer citizen columnist, who serves The Daily Advocate readers weekly with his column Today’s Challenges. He is semi-retired and an elder at the Mid-County Church of Christ. He can be reached at email@example.com. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.