But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. At the root of discontentment, is love of money. Indeed, love for money has caused many people to fall into temptations and make bad choices. It is a path that leads to destruction and grief. – 1 Timothy 6:6–10
Papa modeled for us a life of contentment. Simple things make him happy, such as chatting with friends. He preferred his clothes and shoes to be comfortable, but they need not be expensive. He was not the ambitious type. He was a responsible husband and father providing for his family. He had a job as salesman at a paper company since I was a child until his retirement at sixty-five. While earning money was important for him, he was not greedy. His goal in life was not to get rich.
In many ways, I take after him. I am easily contented and not ambitious. Simple things make me happy. I prefer comfortable clothes and shoes rather than flashy, expensive ones. I do not have the drive to make big money. God is good to our family. We were not wealthy. At one point in our life, our family lived in a small apartment, where our dining room by day became our bedroom by night. We walked to school and to church, both were just beside where we lived.
Papa used to drive a Volkswagen when I was in elementary years. Later, he sold the car when we moved nearer to the school, where mama taught and we went to school. He would walk or ride the calesa or sidecars. He was a resilient person. He adjusted to life where God led him. When he was in his eighties, he lost vision in his right eye. He was not one to complain about pain or discomfort, or inconvenience for himself, because he did not want to cause inconvenience for us, his children.
Papa’s contentment manifested in his thankful and gracious ways. He often thanked his helpers and caregivers for whatever service they did for him. My father often showed his appreciation of the things we did for him. He loved us with words of encouragement. He thanked me for visiting him. He often praised with the words, “Yah hoh chia.” (Very delicious). Not many traditional Chinese fathers expressed verbal appreciation to their children.
He once told me: Abigail loves me very much. Abigail is my second daughter. She’s a medical doctor. My father often spoke of the one who would become a doctor. Sometimes, he would forget her name, but he would often remember with appreciation how Abigail took care of him, accompanied him to his haircut, and fed him when our family went out to dinner together.
My father is our model to give thanks in everything and to everyone who served him or loved him. His life of grateful contentment is a great gain to our family.
Dear heavenly Father, thank you for every good and perfect gift is from above. Thank you for the life of papa. You are our Father of the heavenly lights from whom all blessings flow. No good thing do you withhold from those who walk uprightly. Give me a heart of contentment and gratitude always. Amen