Not far from Wilton is a yearly event held unlike anything I ever saw growing up in Southern Ohio. The spinning of car tires, squealing of train wheels against steel track, horn of tug boats, and paddle churning of riverboats, now that, I am familiar with, but this was a very new experience for me. Every year in the fall, the Hot Air Balloon Festival descends upon our region. For miles and miles balloons can be seen in the beautiful Hudson River Valley in the Adirondacks.
Looking to the sky as these large balloons take shape and lift into the air is a majestic scene indeed. The hot air generated by the flame is thousands of degrees in temperature, and the great force unleashed at the pull of a switch or push of a button is incredible to see. The sound, heat, and lift from the fire is wonderful to watch.
As the balloons begin to ascend, a peaceful, serene emotion overcomes me. The balloon is content to follow the manipulation of the balloon pilot in the wind. The balloon has no objective of its own. If ascends high into the sky, or if it remains grounded due to high winds, the balloon is content. Whether it is a Snoopy balloon, a turtle, a butterfly in shape and appearance, or simply the classic balloon style, it is content. If it is folded up and kept in a trailer or is traveling hundreds of miles, it is content. Balloons appear to me to be very peaceful.
Balloons high in the sky also offer a unique perspective. The pilot and riders get a “bird’s eye view” of the region below. The higher the balloon goes, the larger the perspective of the pilot and passengers.
When it comes to our personal contentment, the hot air balloon gives us a good parallel to consider. The balloons are peaceful. The balloons offer a greater perspective. In the same way, contentment provides an inner peace and offers a Godly perspective on life and daily matters.
Coveting is something everyone deals with from time to time. Being jealous of others is another common sin. Sometimes our thoughts and emotions betray us to one of these sins even before our mouths express these sins. For example, sometimes, without saying anything, there is already a jealous spirit in a person. In other times, the heart is already coveting another’s position, privilege, or place in life. It may not even be expressed out loud. But it is in the heart.
Some men covet the jobs and paychecks of other men. Some women covet the family life of other women. Some men would love to trade places with another man and his place in life. Some women would trade places with another woman if they could. Working mothers in the workforce may long to be able to stay at home. Mothers working at home may have a desire for a different career outside the home.
Students in school may covet the grades of others. Some even cheat to “get ahead” in school.
At the time of this writing, a billion-dollar college entrance scheme has hit the news. Exams were forged. Skills, abilities, and grades were changed. Payments were made. The ultra-wealthy and a whole list of Hollywood stars are caught up in this scandal. All of this is an effort rooted in covetousness, jealousy, and greed.
What does the Bible say about contentment? Plenty. Philippians 4:11-19 is a primary passage that emphasizes contentment. If you are searching for contentment – here is where to find it in the Bible.
11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
14 Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction.
15 Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only.
16 For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity.
17 Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account.
18 But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God.
19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
Please look for the next posting for PART 2…