“Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have
learned in whatever state I am, to be content”
(Philippians 4:11 NKJV).
While traveling through a rural area I passed a field where cattle were grazing. One cow had her head through the fence eating the grass in the ditch beside the road. Another cow, only a few feet away, was outside the fence in the ditch. The second cow also had her head through the fence, eating the grass from the pasture.
That is the best illustration I have ever seen of the principle, “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.”
No matter where we are, or what we have, we can usually find something that we do not have which we think would make us happier, if we could only attain it. It may be another job, a different spouse, or a move to a far country (see Luke 15:11-32).
The truth is that those things will not make us happier or more successful. The roots of happiness are within ourselves.
Paul expressed it perfectly through his own experience as well as through inspiration. He had learned to be content in any circumstance, because he had learned to trust Christ for everything (see verses 12-13).
An American pioneer traveled west to relocate his family. At a frontier outpost he asked a store owner about the country to which he was moving, and the people he would find there. The storekeeper asked him, “What kind of people were in your old country?” The traveler replied, “A poor sort, unfriendly and unhelpful.” The storekeeper responded, “That is about the same kind you will find where you are going.”
Soon another traveler came to ask him the same question. When the storekeeper asked him about the people he left behind he answered, “The best people in the world, helpful, generous, and kind.” The store owner then responded, “You will be glad to find in your new home people of that exact type.”
An observer had heard both conversations. When the second man left he asked, “Were those two men not going to the same place? How could you tell them there would be two opposite kinds of people there?” The storekeeper responded, “Each will find people who will respond to his own expectations and attitudes. They will determine how others will treat them.”
We carry the seeds of our own success wherever we go.
If we determine to find happiness and contentment, we almost certainly will. If we expect disappointment that is what we will have.
Whenever we insist on gazing longingly over the fence, seeing better things just beyond our reach, we have laid the foundation for misery. Let us learn to accept the reality of our circumstance, making the very best of those blessings God has given us. We will always find they are more than sufficient.
— by Michael E. Brooks