MEDIOCRITY OR CONTENTMENT?

MEDIOCRITY OR CONTENTMENT?

There is no person reading this article who is a stranger to this age-old conundrum; between the chicken and the egg who came first? Some wrote it off at first glance as a fruitless inquiry while others thoroughly enjoyed the rigors of this wholly philosophical exercise. The latter group is largely made up of those who, having lost time (and an ample amount of saliva I suspect) arguing out the subject and not having reached a universally accepted stance, gave it up as hopeless. The remainder must have died from overexertion. Do not be alarmed. This article does not boast of an answer to this mental plague. Its writer’s interest in the subject matter is purely alimentary.

There is, however, a topic with a more neuronal allure for me. You will have already acquainted yourself with it if you have read the heading of the article. Indeed, I have wondered, where does mediocrity end and contentment begin.

A proper discourse on any topic begins with a clear understanding of what the terms involved mean, so let’s state what it means to be ‘content’ and ‘mediocre’, shall we? The 11th edition of the Concise Oxford Dictionary defines ‘content’ as being ‘in a state of peaceful happiness and satisfaction’ and a ‘mediocre’ person or things as one ‘of only average quality’. The Merriam Webster definition of the latter term includes ‘having a low performance’.

Before we go any further, these are two assumptions I have made. Firstly, that one can never be truly content with himself unless he knows and is doing what he thinks is he is supposed to. Secondly, we cannot rightly call anything or anyone mediocre unless we have a scale of reference against which the thing or person falls below a certain level.

For instance, an eaglet will not be content unless it is flying high above in the heights where it belongs. And we are permitted to call any eagle mediocre (having a low performance) which flies so low it can be aimed at with a catapult.

Any talk of contentment and mediocrity among men is, in my opinion, useless unless we assume a purpose for life. Of course, the cogitative mind will be quick to point out that several men and women who believe that life has no purpose, most of them unreligious, are quite content with themselves. That is true. However, going by my first assumption, one must note that in disregarding a purpose for life these men hold the view that they are to live life as they see fit and in so doing, they find contentment.

We ought to be aware that we are made for more, more for higher, made to be us.

For Christians, it is a central tenet of our faith that men were made for both a general purpose and individual purposes. As there are several materials that adequately deal with purpose in Christianity, I shall not delve therein. As Christians, contentment comes for us when we walk in the Master’s blueprint for our lives. I have observed, however, that discontentment among Christians not only comes from an inner discomfort to find why exactly we are on Earth; it also comes from an unhealthy comparison of ourselves with other believers or with non-believers.

This in itself betrays an attitude of mediocrity. We ought to be aware that we are made for more, more for higher, made to be us. Pursuing a career because it pays more and not because of what God intended for you to do in it may seem like a high achievement in the eyes of the world. On God’s scale, it is gross mediocrity because you would have under-performed His plan for you.

If you are a Christian, it is of utmost importance to spend time to find out why the Father made you. We are not in this place for ourselves. The Lord has refurbished each of us uniquely for specific purposes.

Know your content, then you will be content.

Know your content, then you will be content.

Joseph Kyi Nyamison
Joseph Kyi Nyamison

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