In an age of confusion when contentment is being re-examined between material comfort and personal fulfillment, its comforting to watch and observe how one national figure has already personally defined contentment — and doesn’t give a rip what anybody else thinks.
The afterglow of the national championship football game last night, where fans of the Alabama Crimson Tide are basking in glory right now over the conquering of the mighty LSU Tigers, one head football coach is quietly building a major college football program in the most unlikeliest of setting — Boise, Idaho.
While many point to his attention to details, offensive or defensive schemes, or finding the right players to fit his system, I believe the secret to the success of Coach Chris Peterson of the Boise State Broncos lies in one key word — contentment. At the end of every season so far, major college football programs come offering the prospects of a better job, a bigger budget and greater exposure. But Coach Peterson knows a good thing when he sees it. From UCLA to Arizona, from Stanford and most recently Penn State, Coach Peterson believes in making the big time where he is at. By choosing not to climb the corporate ladder of coaching success, as defined by the media and the culture of intercollegiate sports, Coach Peters stubbornly stays put, refusing to be re-defined as what is deemed as a truly worthy pursuit of being successful.
A former Boise State football player, now an assistant football coach at Stanford, recently made a comment about how Coach Peterson has been both an example and a mentor for him. He said, “When I was a young coach trying to work my way up the ladder, he was probably getting annoyed with my calls and texts. He’s always offered me really quality advice. The thing about him, he’s personified it — be happy, be content in the job you’re in. He’s really taught me that. Don’t look for the next job. I had to , to a certain degree, to provide for my family. Now that I’m in a place with some stability, I can apply that lesson that Coach Pete has lived and taught me over the years.” (Mike Sanford)
The lesson for us is to not let other people, or other influence, define contentment. Too often, it’s one of those visible, yet unattainable treasures that lies just out of reach. From the fountain of youth to a winning Powerball ticket; from the corner office with a window to the brand new sports car, the pursuit to obtain is relentless and the glory if fleeting.
True contentment is typically defined not by what we are surrounded with, but by whom. Being around those we love and who love us. But even the love of family is fleeting. There comes a day when everyone will take their last breath, the heart will takes its last beat, and we are confronted with a destiny that had remained shrouded for most while experiencing life on earth. For this reason, contentment must be defined with an eternal perspective.
I am content because my citizenship is heaven is secured. Not that I’m perfect, or the number of rights outnumber my wrongs, but my assurance of an amazing eternal destination is all made possible by what Christ has already done for me. By him, I’m perfect. Through him, I’m acceptable. On him, my contentment is complete.