A few years back our family set off on a three-week RV adventure. I was pumped. This was going to be the Big Kahuna of summertime travel. Family, friends, and "camping" in air conditioned comfort! The journey had an auspicious beginning, but it went sour just like the milk. It was a Sunday and I was driving as we cruised the back roads from Kentucky to Indiana. I love the back roads. Give me the twists and turns of country highways over the monotony of an interstate system any day.
No doubt the rhythmic pace was casting a spell. Everyone was resting and I was enjoying the peace and quiet . . . until I noticed movement in my rear-view mirror. When I took a look, my heart sank.
Earlier in the day someone had taken a gallon of milk and turned it sideways in the RV refrigerator. During the drive, the top came off and the gallon of milk leaked out … into the refrigerator … onto the floor … into the carpet … out the back of the refrigerator onto the side of the RV. Milk was everywhere! The twists and turns and hills and valleys of the country road sent the milk into every nook and cranny of the motor home floor.
People who say there is no use crying over spilt milk have never spilled it in an RV. We tried to clean it up, but the damage was done. Two days later the coach reeked. The milk had soured and so had my attitude. We were only planning on keeping that RV for a few months and then selling it. Fat chance now! Who wants to ride in a milk carton? I brooded, I pouted, and I worried. I was not a very happy man. That was when Paul's familiar words suddenly took on new meaning:
“I’m glad in God, far happier than you would ever guess—happy that you’re again showing such strong concern for me. Not that you ever quit praying and thinking about me. You just had no chance to show it. Actually, I don’t have a sense of needing anything personally. I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.” (Philippians 4:10-13 The Message)
I used to think that I was pretty content. I thought I had a handle on stress. Things were not that important to me. Then we spilled the milk . . . .
Gratefully, the coach wasn’t ruined. Thanks to Stanley Steemer and $82 bucks the RV was cleaned. The smell disappeared, but the lesson remains: Contentment can’t be found in things. Stuff goes sour! But when I look to Jesus, when my happiness resides in him, I can handle anything—even an $82 gallon of milk!