“They say money can’t buy happiness. But it can buy jet skis… And have you ever seen an unhappy person on a jet ski?”

A decade ago the Hubs and I cracked up at a comedian making this observation. I can’t remember the comedian or the context, but I remember repeatedly joking about it with the Hubs, and maybe just ever so slightly pondering the possible truth in the statement.

Months later, we found ourselves sitting upstairs in our apartment, overlooking the harbor of Gordon’s Bay and enjoying a deep conversation and an afternoon coffee. This was our tradition when we had just the one kiddo and he was down for his afternoon snooze.

Our peaceful afternoon was interrupted by a family in one of the large homes adjacent to our apartment building on the harbor. This was a “second home” for these folks, occasionally making the trip from Johannesburg down to Cape Town for a relaxing weekend near the sea, however their relaxing weekend by the sea seemed anything but.

An argument broke out about the fact that the husband had gone to great efforts to get the jet ski into the water, and now no one was interested in riding it. While the missionary couple watching from the balcony would’ve loved to volunteer to take on the hardship of driving their jet ski around the bay for an afternoon, we decided to continue to quietly sip our coffee and hope things settled down quickly.

When they did settle down we had to laugh, remembering the words of that comedian we’d heard before — no, even money that can buy jet skis can’t buy happiness.

If you’ve been following along around this writing corner of the woods lately, you know I’ve been focusing in on just one simple word, one simple concept, and unpacking it slowly week by week, to see how it can apply to our lives, and how we can honor God in the process.

And this month’s word comes with a new set of verses that I think are very worth taking to heart — and although it is three verses this month, I think you’ll already find one of them very familiar and therefore should not consider memorizing them a particularly daunting task, should you choose to undertake it:

11 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. {Phil. 4:11-13}

We often pull that last verse out and want it to serve as a spiritual trump card for life, most especially in the sports world — like Evander Holyfield walking into a boxing match against Mike Tyson with Philippians 4:13 inscribed on his robe and shorts — we like the idea that God can enable us to win the battles we want to fight and do the things we want to do. But with an extra sort of spiritual genie in our back pocket to give us an edge.

But what is Paul referring to when he speaks about finding strength in Christ? It’s less about climbing mountains and more about living at peace right here on the ground. Right? It’s less about knocking out competition and more about finding a sense of peace whether we’re lifted on the shoulders, or knocked out and lying on the mat.

Paul looks to Christ to find contentment — so that whatever life brings his way, he is able to trust, to survive, and even thrive because Christ is his sustainer, and makes contentment possible in any circumstance.

We’ll unpack the concept of contentment this month, but I want to start with a simple question for you to ponder.

Close your eyes and ask yourself: Are you content?

Do you immediately want to open your eyes to see what’s around you? Does it help to look at the walls of your home? Pictures that remind you of your favorite people? Furnishings that remind you of comfort? Maybe you want to look at your pantry or your fridge and see that you have plenty?

What if the thing our souls need to know most is that contentment has nothing to do with anything on that list?

What if God’s invitation to contentment is for you, right now, whether you feel abased or your life feels abundant? 

I believe that it is. And that’s the conversation we’ll jump into this month. I’m very excited!

And once again, my beautiful friend Margaret has made a beautiful printable for you to hang and enjoy that will help you remember contentment this month!! {Happy squeal!} Click here to download it. And here’s a smaller version if you need a lower-res file. I’m thinking of you precious friends who pay for data!!

I hope you’ll scroll back up and read Paul’s words through a few more times today, and throughout this month. (They’re the most important part.) And I hope you’ll join me in accepting the invitation to find contentment right where you are this month!

P.S. Facebook will not show you all my posts!! I’d love for you to subscribe so you’ll never miss a post… and invite a friend to join you in accepting the contentment invitation! You and your peeps can subscribe right here to receive every post in your inbox for free!