by Adam Kronberger / Superintendent
Do you remember the day you purchased your first cell phone? My first cell phone was so cool! It had a tiny little screen on the outside that told me what time it was. I could flip it open and use the number pad to text messages to my friends (if they had a cell phone). It could hold a charge for days (probably due to its lack of function and its lack of personal use)! A couple of years later I upgraded to a phone with a full keyboard that conveniently slid out when needed. The screen was twice as big, and the pictures I took could even be emailed to others. Then in 2013 I ended my holdout and purchased my first smartphone, a Samsung Galaxy S3 (don’t judge me Apple lovers). Literally, the purchase opened my eyes to a “whole new world”. While the learning curve was steep, as was the cost, the convenience and functionality changed my daily life dramatically.
This past fall, the screen on my S3 cracked and I was in need of a new phone. I was very content with it, so I simply wanted to replace it with a similar model. But as I did some research, I realized the S4 had many significant improvements and that the S5 had again made jumps ahead in technology. When I finally visited a store, the S6 was revealed to me and my jaw dropped to the floor. What a fine advancement of technology. I had to have one. All I could think about was getting this new phone. Within a few days, a completely content spirit had been consumed with constant thoughts of a driving “need” for an upgrade.
The school is focusing on the character trait of gratefulness during the month of December. One of the key points of gratefulness is to be content with what you have and to not complain about what you don’t have. Even with a Samsung Galaxy S3 cell phone, I was in the top 10% of the world regarding comfort and wealth. And yet when the next best thing was revealed to me, the contentment I thought I deliberately held was easily given away. I am reminded of what Paul wrote in Philippians 4:11b-13:
“...for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
There is nothing inherently sinful in seeking to upgrade your personal cell phone. But in the land of plenty, the pride we have in our lifestyles can quickly snatch away our contentment, which is the root of our joy, peace, and hope. During a month where getting oftentimes trumps giving, let an attitude of gratefulness fill our homes. May we daily practice expressing sincere appreciation to God and others for the ways they have blessed our lives.
– Adam Kronberger / Superintendent