Far be it from me to start the morning anymore without a nice cup of coffee. It is really quite funny. Just a few short years ago, I would have never guessed I would have developed a taste for it. Yet I find myself waking up to the thought of a nice cup of Maxwell House coffee these days. Master Blend. Medium. French Vanilla creamer. Now we're talking a good morning indeed! Just one good cup. That is all it takes.
This morning, after I took hold of my cup of coffee, I set out to do what was becoming my favorite daily routine just before it began turning colder late this past fall. I took my cup of coffee with me outside, let my dog (Butler) out, and began a walk around the backyard. And as I walked, I began my daily prayer. Customarily, I begin my prayer time with a few words of thanksgiving and praise. Then, I move on to make my request and petitions known. However, this morning was different. Though the morning had started with some challenges, I found myself sheltered from them as I began my prayer time. Coffee in hand. Dog by my side--step for step. There was just one difference in the arrangement of prayer time this morning. I couldn't stop being thankful. For my family. For my church. For my health. For my friendships. For the simple blessings. And yes, I even was thankful for my dog.
And as I continued down this seemingly endless list of thanksgivings, I was reminded of this verse:
"Godliness with contentment is great gain."
Gain. We are obsessed with the word, yet we often know little about what it actually means. We often associate a monetary value to it. Or, we ascribe a higher level of material satisfaction to it. Yet, so often we miss its meaning altogether. One can never truly recognize gain for what it is unless he/she reaches a point of contentment toward what is already possessed. But underlying this contentment is the most foundational issue we all must understand. We must seek godliness. We must seek to understand God's purpose for our lives. There is a level of contentment that is found in being and doing what God desires for us that cannot be matched by anything this world can offer.
I never would have guessed that, at 28 years old, I would be a pastor in the small community of Reeltown, AL. I would have never guessed that I would be the husband of a wonderful wife, a father to two beautiful children, and an owner of a goofy boxer bulldog. Yet, as I made my rounds this morning I was overwhelmingly thankful. Thankful for my beautiful bride. Thankful for my two amazing children. Thankful for the church congregation that God has called me to shepherd. Thankful for the small, rural town that I now call home. Thankful for God's provisions.
There are some things money just can't buy:
The peace of knowing that you are doing what God intends for you to do, the joy of family, and the blessings of friendships...
a cup of coffee...
a morning walk...
and a goofy boxer bulldog.
That is what I call great gain.