These two Toyota Camry’s made me reflect on the idea of contentment and complacency.
Most people are not in doubt that contentment is as much a virtue as complacency is a vice: it’s pretty easy to put them neatly in those boxes. The difficulty arises however when we have to decide whether our actions reflect contentment or complacency.
Typically, the admonition to be content comes to mind when we realize that our haste is not a personal choice but a knee jerk reaction to keep up with the Joneses: when our hankering after the 2014 model of that car is not about desired additional practical utility but simply the ephemeral ‘utility’ of perceived success that it gives at the reunion party.
Yet we must be wary of sinking into the slothfulness that is brought on by a diminishing sense of aspiration. While we must completely avoid the rat race, we must also avoid Stagnation. We must be contented without growing complacent: the former means we are happy IN the situation while the latter means we happy WITH the situation.
The key is to understand that our lives are not measured by what we own, our real value is a reflection of who owns us – God. A toothpick can be worth nothing or $1m depending on whose teeth it was used to pick. For as long then as we are serving the purpose of our owner, we assume value relative to Him, irrespective of what we own.
One moral of the picture is that, whatever you are hankering after right now will soon be jaded like the ragged Camry except it is something of eternal value.