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Crossroads of the Marine Corps

Contentment: Determining when enough is enough

28 Jan 2016 | Chaplain Garry R. Thornton, Jr.; LCDR/CHC/USN, Chaplain; Wounded Warrior Regiment Marine Corps Base Quantico

I don’t usually waste — I mean spend- my time watching awards shows on television. All any movie star, television personality, singer, professional athlete or any other celebrity needs to do to feel that they have received their due for what they do is look at their bank account. Having said that, I somehow strangely found myself watching the 73rd Golden Globe Awards recently.

In the midst of the irreverence and inappropriate comments of host Ricky Gervais, funny man Jim Carrey managed to inject a sense of thoughtful perspective on things while putting a smile on everyone’s face. Carrey, on hand to present the award for Best Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical, delivered a stereotypical humorous monologue. He quipped, "I am two-time Golden Globe winner Jim Carrey," as he took the stage. "When I go to sleep at night, I'm not just a guy going to sleep. I'm two-time Golden Globe winner Jim Carrey going to get some well-needed shut-eye,” he continued. “And when I dream I don't just dream any old dream. No sir. I dream about being three-time Golden Globe-winning actor Jim Carrey. Because then… I would be enough.”

Carrey’s comedic presence was powerful, and, yet, his point was very profound. If I may, I’ll take the liberty of reframing his statement into a question. We must all ask ourselves, “When is enough, enough?”

I am reminded of the words of the Apostle Paul who said, “… 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." (Philippians 4:11b-13)

Friends, contentment is a valuable commodity. It is wonderful to ever be striving to achieve a new goal or objective. Stagnation is not healthy, at least not long term. However, it is equally important to be able to enjoy where you are and to be thankful for what you have right now. And, this includes your accomplishments. A lack of contentment will drive you (and others) crazy!

I would like to suggest that the secret to contentment and happiness is being able to say, “Enough is enough!” We must be secure in the Lord and find our identity not in things such as money and material possessions or the fickle opinions and hollow accolades of man to include awards and recognition. No, our real identity, worth and value as well as purpose in life is to be found in the Lord!

God is our help. He is our hope and our strength. In Him alone do we find contentment and meaning in life as His dearly loved children.

I’ll close with these words from an old hymn:

My hope is built on nothing less
than Jesus' blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
but wholly lean on Jesus' name.
On Christ the solid rock I stand,
all other ground is sinking sand;
all other ground is sinking sand.

Marine Corps Base Quantico