Contentment and the NCAA Tourney

Read: Philippians 4:10-13

You probably think that this meditation is going to be about how my NCAA bracket is all messed up and how I am learning to be content with that. Actually, my bracket is in fine shape, it’s just the teams that I picked that are not.

Anyway, as much as I enjoy the NCAA tournament each March and trying to pick the winners, it has never been much of a test in contentment for me. That is unless the referee’s give the ball to the wrong team at the end of a close game. Illinois vs. Miami. That maybe tested me a bit.

Actually, what I am writing about this week are some of the coaches who were in the tournament again this year. Coaches who have led smaller schools to this tournament for the past several years and been very successful, and then turned down the many offers that came their way from bigger schools with more prestige and more money.

Perhaps you can name them, but if not I will help you out. Brad Stevens of Butler, Shaka Smart of Virginia Commonwealth, Mark Few of Gonzaga, and perhaps a couple of others that I am leaving off this list. These coaches have had many opportunities to “move up” in the ranks the past several years. But each time they have decided to stay in their current situation, honor their contracts, and proclaim that they are content with their situations.

None of these coaches are “roughing it” or are having to do without much, but they are giving some example of what Paul is talking about in Philippians 4 when he says, “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation.” Perhaps we can learn to apply that attitude to our own lives and situations.

We live in a world that always wants to have the next best thing, the next best job, or the opportunity that provides more money. Not all of those opportunities are bad and in fact in some cases the Lord may even provide them to us. But Paul is reminding us that those opportunities should not be the guiding force of our contentment. In verse 11 he says, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.”

Each and every week we are given many opportunities to be discontented with what we have or what has happened to us. Maybe this week is a good time to start finding our contentment in Jesus Christ and the peace that he can bring to us despite the circumstances.

Some of those coaches mentioned above may decide to move on to bigger schools at some point, but I truly believe that they will do that knowing that they have been content throughout each and every situation they have been in. Hopefully Christ can teach us and help us to cultivate that in our own lives as well…..Even if the team that you picked to win it all this weekend loses. Enjoy the Final Four!

Make it personal: Think of one area that you have been discontented with recently. Make it a goal to find peace with that this week and ask Jesus to help you find his peace and his blessings in every area of your life.

Have a blessed week,
Glen Rhodes, Minister of Discipling and Community Life, Arthur Mennonite Church