Long ago, Aesop created a fable regarding a dog seeing its reflection as he crossed a stream. Basically, the story line is that the dog is carrying a stolen bone [although other variations say it was a piece of meat or cheese] as he crosses a stream. He sees his reflection in the water and believes that it is another dog. Not only that, but he sees that the other dog has a bone [or some meat or cheese, as the case may be] and he believes it to be bigger and better than that which he has in his mouth. Thus, he opens his mouth to bark at the other dog and get that trophy and, in so doing, the bone in his own mouth falls into the stream and is lost, both to the dog and to his reflection!
I have known this fable for many years and have seen it, recently, enacted in our own family room. We have two miniature pinchers rescue dogs, and they have provided us with hours of humor and entertainment. Almost without exception, when one is playing with a toy or chewing on a bone, it matters not that there are 3 other toys/bones on the floor; the second Mini Pin is jealous and wants the one that the first dog is chewing. In short, the only toy that is worthwhile is the one that is being used at the moment.
The second Mini Pin ultimately will begin, half-heartedly, chewing on a different bone or toy when the first dog will stop with what she has and go stare longingly at the second dog and what she has. When this happens, often the second dog will “give up” what she is doing and hasten to the toy/bone that was abandoned.
How like children to fight over the blue ball in the toy box when there is a red one right next to it! How like teen boys to fight and maneuver their way into dating the cheerleader when there are other delightful young ladies who never get a glance! How like adults who want the next electronic toy when they haven’t really figured out how to use the one they already have!
While the dogs don’t have words to say and they would not necessarily understand the concept, what they are doing is being discontented with their lot. We laugh when we see the Mini Pins in our home doing this, and we often laugh when we see babies or children doing this.
Scripture is filled with admonitions that we should be content with our position. That is certainly not to say that we should not seek to make our lives better or to do more for others for whom life is more difficult. But, we should be content with the things that God has granted to us.
Indeed, our Lord told His disciples to be content. We read this in Luke:
Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or by false accusation, and be content with your wages.”Luke 3:4
In Philippians, the Apostle Paul said the following:
Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.Philippians 4:11
The writer of Hebrews continues in this vein when he writes that the Hebrews should be content with what they have.
Keep your life free from the love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said: “I will never leave you nor forsakeHebrews 13:5
Our canine daughters played a good bit more years ago, now they are more relaxed and enjoy the comfort of their bed, even with both of them curled up together.
The are content. … unless we are too late in giving them their treats, Then, all bets are off!
However, I believe that we, as children of our Heavenly Father, can, and should, exercise more discipline so that we are content, even if our treat is late in coming.. God has told us that His ways are not our ways. Indeed, He has said through the prophet Isaiah: For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9
We must remember that we are the creation. Albeit we are the paramount of God’s creation, we are still, nonetheless, created beings. We are not infinite, we are not all knowing, we are not all powerful, in short, we have none of the attributes that epitomize our God. For that reaon, we cannot be like God, knowing the future as the past, even knowing the present moment.
Praise the Lord tht He has faithful and true. That He is with us every step of the way, even when we are unaware of His presence. praise His name that He cares for us and that He will be with us even when the days are dark and fearful.. Be content, my friend. There is nothing more wonderful than being content with where the Lord has me because I know that it is the best place that I could ever be!
Father, forgive me when I have sown the seeds of discontent. Help me to remember that You want the best for me and that Your will is the best place for me to me. Keep me in Your will, Dear Lord, and when I veer to the side, pull me back so that I am once again in your hands..