Forthright Magazine Straight to the Cross http://www.forthright.net ---- Here's a thought that needs to be iced down. ---- COLUMN: Field Notes The Simple Things by Michael E. Brooks "Not that I speak in regard to need; for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content" (Phil. 4:11). Tastes vary, in regard to food and drink as well as colors, fabrics, furniture, and cars. I am one who enjoys my hot foods and beverages very hot, and my cold ones very cold. One thing often missing in remote corners of the world is ice and refrigeration; therefore, a "sacrifice" I have frequently had to make is drinking lukewarm water or other beverages. This can be trying at times, particularly in very hot weather and while walking long distances. A few years ago my son, Scott, and I spent two weeks trekking in the Himalayas into remote villages to preach. On our way to the mountains we spent one night in a hotel in Sriya Brebensi where we enjoyed the coldest Cokes I have yet found in Nepal. Over the next two weeks we walked for more than seven days, including two and a half to get back to Sriya Brebensi after our last preaching stop. Though it was late October in the high mountains, daytime temperatures got into the 80's, and with rugged climbs we became very hot and thirsty. Even before we started that last trek, we recalled the cold drinks we had enjoyed and began looking forward to them again. We weren't echoing the rich man's "just a drop on my tongue" (Luke 16:24). No, we wanted at least two drinks each! And the sooner the better! When we finally got back to the hotel we found the Cokes just as cold as we remembered. Nothing ever tasted any better! It doesn?t take a lot to make one happy. Especially if the needs are great and expectations are not. We can be physically satisfied with very little. It is our desire that causes trouble. Note Paul's self-analysis in our text. "I have learned ... to be content." It is about our attitude. James remarks upon the opposite nature: "Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask" (James 4:1-2). Contentment is not achieved with material possessions, power, or fame. It is a blessing that God gives as our reward for seeking his righteousness. And it is usually perceived through simple pleasures: a cold drink, a simple meal, the smile on the face of one just baptized into Christ. These bring a fulfillment and lasting satisfaction that mere wealth can never achieve. As Jesus said, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled" (Matt. 5:6).