SAME OLD, SAME NEW: Brand New Book!

I’m pleased to announce the publication of my brand new book, Same Old, Same New: The Consolation of the Ordinary. Similar in format to my book Champagne for the Soul, this one too has 90 short devotional chapters, each one exploring the theme of finding meaning and joy in the ordinary things of life. Here’s a sample chapter entitled “The Secret of Contentment.” 

Cover photos by Karen Mason

The nice thing about ordinariness is that there’s so much of it that anyone who learns to love it has hit the jackpot. They’ll never lack for anything ever again. For free they can have something the Bible ranks right alongside godliness: “Godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Tim 6:6). 

Are you contented? Jesus said, “Whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst,” for “streams of living water will flow from within him” (Jn 4:13; 7:38). But is living water really enough for you? The opposite of contentment is covetousness, forbidden by the Tenth Commandment, which suggests that contentment is within our control. If we’re discontent, we tend not to take it as seriously as some of the other laws. But in God’s eyes it is just as sinful. 

It’s not hard to tell if you’re contented, because if you are, you always have enough. Enough money, enough time, enough adventure, enough love to go around. If you’re not content, the place to seek contentment is in ordinary life. Why? Just because there’s so much of it that you can have all you want. 

“I think simple contentment is underrated,” writes Deanne Fitzpatrick. “Why is the world always trying to sell me on some kind of bliss? Contentment is a bliss. When you’re content you’ve got everything.” 

The only question is: Will that be enough for you? 

A woman with many children was doing laundry for the umpteenth time. In the midst of sorting a heap of dirty clothes, she found herself wondering, “Is this all there is?” Immediately she heard in her heart an answer from God, who said, Yes, this is all there is, and it’s enough. Do it with love and it is more than enough.

As John Keble wrote: 

The trivial round, the common task,
Will furnish all we ought to ask;
Room to deny ourselves, a road
To bring us daily nearer God.

Yes, one may have an entirely mundane existence and still live fully. If we chafe at the ordinary, it’s because it doesn’t make us feel important. Yet however important we may become in the world, we’re never really sure of ourselves and so we seek more and more recognition. The problem with pursuing reputation is that, by definition, we must do so at the expense of others. To be important, we must be more important than someone else. To be very important is to be more important than many others. 

Is it possible to achieve significance without buying into the pecking order? The Bible thinks so. Christ died for each one of us, so we must all be important. Our lives, though loaded down with mundanities, are worth the ultimate price. 

Same Old, Same New: The Consolation of the Ordinary is published by FriesenPress. Available at all the usual outlets. 

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