Living well, achieving the good life; Learn how to be content

These thoughts were inspired by Wendy’s musings at Daily Bell again:

She has a habit of posting interesting topics and thoughts for discussion.

Some people put too much importance on finances and material well-being.

Looks like the Stoics had it right on this one. If you anchor your happiness to external conditions, you’re pegging your feelings about life on external circumstance, but that doesn’t vanish upon living well materially. Debts grow, things happen, the homeowner has to get a new roof, your company lost half its customers due to [whatever]. I grew up poor, and I know the attitude that they sneak into Hollywood productions sometimes, that it’s easy for a rich person to say it doesn’t satisfy.

What are you going to do with a family farm? If his “living well” definition depended on the weather, it would be just as fickle. Why should we guarantee our own sour disposition and grow our bitterness. Let us live free of basing ourselves on fleeting circumstance.

As a matter of fact, the overwhelming majority of people throughout history were farmers, and more than half of the rest lived at survival level. Consider life before the Industrial Revolution, before the conveniences you take for granted. For example, only in the last few years has the poorest youth in barrios in my wife’s country of Honduras been able to have a phone even in their household. Now, there’s a ipod or Android in almost every cardboard shack!

A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.-Proverbs 22:1

I heard one speaker share his father’s wisdom, from the same circumstances. The father had lost literally everything, all income, and the son asked him why he didn’t steal something. The reply was that his honesty was all he had left.

My friend, if you are poor and habitually honest, thank God for this precious treasure He has blessed you with. It is worth more than all the dollars the Federal Reserve can print. I was a missionary in an independent Christian youth movement without the rich denominational support. Support was many, many days hand to mouth. My first day with them after my decision to join the Jesus “revolution”, we were evicted from the property after a dispute that had been provided to us by agreement by a certain TV personality of the time.

My second night was sleeping on a park bench under the stars. That was one of my happiest nights ever. The “Son of Man” had nowhere to lay his head, and has given us the key to eternal happiness. Polycarp happily scoffed at the emperor’s demands to recant, with the lions waiting. Paul said he had learned both to abase and abound, and learned to “be content” in “whatsoever state” he found himself in, and he lived it.

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