A Lesson from Homer Simpson

I learned an important lesson about contentment from Homer Simpson. I am not kidding about this. Homer was lying on his living room couch when the subject of retirement came up. 

He said, “I wish I could retire. Boy, that’d be sweet.” And then he imagined what retirement would be like in a thought balloon that appeared directly above him. What he imagined was not some fanciful retirement activity like driving a convertible down an oceanfront highway. What he imagined was being in the same house, in the same clothes, lying on the same couch, in exactly the same position.

Homer was discontent with his life; but what he longed for was not a new life, but the day when he would be content with it. The only thing preventing him from being content immediately was the lack of awareness that he could already do what he really wanted to do.

As Christians we can fall into a similar trap. Have you ever caught yourself longing for the days when we’re in Heaven and the trials of this world are behind us? Paul has some advice:

“I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content - whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:12-13 HCSB)

I don’t think Paul is encouraging us to passively accept everything in our lives and to make no attempt to grow or improve our circumstances, but let’s not get sidetracked today on that point. I think Paul is talking here about circumstances that are truly beyond our control, and that we can be content despite those circumstances if we learn Paul’s secret. The secret is that we can do all things God wants us to do, including being content, through Christ who will give us the strength to do it.

Sometimes I dream of learning to play the piano or learning to speak Spanish in my retirement. Maybe the future is indeed the best time for me to do such things, but I should ask myself an honest question. Is anything really stopping me from starting right now?

Do you long for the day when you’re walking with Jesus in Heaven and can finally be content? Christian friend, we’re walking with Him right now.

By Mark Stuart


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