I like everything bagels. Of all the bagels, they’re the most delicious. They have the perfect combination of seasonings and spices: garlic, onion, sesame and caraway seeds, and salt. They aren’t topped with literally “everything,” but rather, everything you’d ever want on a bagel.
I also think—and I recognize I might be forcing it—they’re a pretty good illustration of contentment. Could we put more things on the everything bagel? Of course. Do we? We do not.
Life is the same way. I don’t have everything I could have in life. I could buy a new car or more books, go on a crazy once-in-a-lifetime vacation, or search for the next ministry position. But I have everything I need. In fact, I have everything my God wants me to have (Matt. 6:25–34; Phil. 4:19). He has placed me in this season of life and given me precious gifts, things for which I should be thankful. Contentment is our constant recognition of His provision and our willingness to accept it with thanksgiving.
However, contentment is a difficult thing to gain because, instead of enjoying God’s gifts, we often use them as motivation to pursue more. We begin prizing the gifts over the giver. We take the delicious everything bagel and ruin it with cream cheese and lox, if you will. But though contentment is difficult to find, it is not impossible.
The author of the Letter to the Hebrews, says that we can be “content with what we have” and remain “free from from the love of money” by remembering a simple promise: “I will never leave you nor desert you, Nor will I forsake you” (Heb. 13:5).
The key to contentment is seeing God’s presence and gifts in our life as the perfect, soul-satisfying answer to our hunger for more. He is our daily bread.