“So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content.”
This is the season, after Labor Day, when we start thinking about our results and progress for the current year and more importantly, we also start to think about next year’s goals. We can start to get tough on ourselves and even more so start to look left and right and wonder why we haven’t accomplished enough or more. Especially in the workplace there is the push to beat last year’s performance with more, better, faster, and bigger. It is always good to have goals to strive to achieve and good to have goals that cause us to grow and stretch to new levels. Just by doing the assessment and writing our goals down, we become one of the 5% who actually do so. It’s a small percentage of people who use goal setting and goal tracking to set their course. So, it is all good when we set those goals and start to measure. Where it becomes tricky is in the comparison of others and their performance, results and rewards and trying to find our place in the order of things. We must remember that the race we run is with ourselves. It is easy to start to look left and right and begin to search for how we stack up and then either let that drag us down or sometimes worse, cause us to overcompensate and overreach to try and best someone else. I find that those who start from a place of being content in their own skin and place, knowing their limitations but still striving to expand and grow into those boundaries are not only the happiest people but also the people who just seem to have it more together than the people who are out there trying to prove to others how they are better. A good rule of thumb is to establish a level of contentment to work from and then push off from that place.
Contentment is not always bad if put in the context of still moving and growing. I am not content with my Marathon running times, but I am content with knowing that I am in better shape than most even though I will never win a race or even place anywhere near recognition or reward. Paul told Timothy to establish his launching off position to be at the most simple level, “So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content.” From that place and perspective, Timothy grew and became more but he didn’t forget that there was a set of basics to be content. As we set our goals for 2024 let us “find our place” of humility and contentment and then strive to grow from that place.
Reference: 1 Timothy 6:8 (New Living Translation)