I had a panic attack this week (not really, but go with me here) when a report came out that Dan Lanning, the head coach of Oregon, was interested in leaving and taking the head coaching job at Auburn. Of course Dan was asked if this was true. He set the record straight, and taught us all a lesson too. In the interview, he said he was content where he was, grateful for where he was, and the grass is not always greener on the other side. Well...how often do we forget this as Christians? Rather than being grateful and content for where we are and what we have, we are constantly in the search for something "more" or "better". In doing this, we miss what is right in front of us. Don't ask God for more blessings...thank him for the ones he's already given.
Hey everybody, and welcome back to the Set Your Mind Above Podcast! I’m your host BJ Sipe – I’m a Christian, a preacher, a husband, and a father. In this podcast we take everyday, ordinary events and explore how they can teach us extraordinary, eternal truths. I’m so glad that you joined me for this episode. Now, let’s open up our minds, our hearts, and our Bible’s together.
It was Sunday afternoon, and I was enjoying a little bit of down time between our morning and evening worship. I had sat down on the couch, grabbed a drink, and turned on some football to watch. My phone dinged and I picked it up to see a notification from ESPN, and as I read the headline – my heart absolutely sunk. It read: “RUMOR: AUBURN AND DAN LANNING OF OREGON HAVE MUTUAL INTEREST.” Okay, let me give you some context as most of you are likely not Oregon Ducks fans or familiar with their college football program history. Over the past decade, we have had 5 head coaches. It started with Chip Kelly, who really turned things around for the Ducks and put them on a national stage. But then Chip left to go coach in the NFL before returning to college football years later. Then it was Mark Helfrich, who was…okay. He was fired just a few years into his tenure, so then we turned to was seemed to be a slam dunk hire in Willy Taggart. Willy coached Oregon for one year, but then it was rumored he would leave to take his dream job at FSU. He emphatically denied this, promised his recruits he was staying at Oregon…and then left. He is now referred to as “slick Willy” among Oregon fans. We then turned our attention to Mario Cristobal, another seemingly slam dunk hire from within our own program. Mario recruited with the best of them, and earned the love of many fans…but then rumors started to circulate that he would leave for his dream job at Miami, his alma mater, after just a few years. He also denied this, but then suddenly toward the end of the season accepted the job and left Oregon, taking recruits & his coaching staff with him. Ironically, both Willy and Mario have done absolutely horrendous jobs after they left Oregon, and Chip didn’t last long in the NFL. But needless to say, when Dan Lanning was hired as our head coach and then these rumors came out this past weekend in just his first year…we all held our breath. Here we go again, what’s going to happen? Is Dan going to go back down south to the SEC? Is Oregon going to lose yet another head coach for “something better” just like the other coaches? So, now that you have some context, these were the thoughts in my mind. The article (published by Auburn sources) did not cite how they knew this, but claimed their sources said Dan Lanning was interested in taking the head coaching job that just opened up at Auburn. Well, the very next day during a press conference, the very first question that was asked of Dan from the press was naturally, “Is this true?” His response was not only comforting to me as a fan…but also reminds us of a very valuable lesson that we all must remember as Christians. This is what he had to say in response: “First, I will say things like this are going to come up when you have team success, and you do your job and things go the way they're supposed to go. That's credit really to our team. I think there's a little bit of a problem in society today with people looking for what's next and where there's an opportunity. The reality is the grass is not always greener. In fact, the grass is green in Eugene. I want to be here in Eugene for as long as Eugene will have me. This place has everything that I could possibly want. Everything my family would ever want. I have an 11-year old that's lived in eight different states. The last thing I want to do for everyone is leave. I want to enjoy this opportunity here. It’s been a phenomenal place for us. When you talk about things that align, things that match your vision, what you're looking for as a head coach, Oregon checks every box for me. I think history maybe shows this is a great place to be and not a place to leave. I want to be here. Hopefully, that's the last time I have to really address it, but the reality is this is a destination not just for me but for elite players. And why is it a destination? Because of great administration, great fans, great support, and it's a good reason to be here and why we're having the success we're having.”
Did you catch that? The grass is not always greener on the other side. As I listened to his response, I immediately felt convicted in my heart about myself & about my prayer life. Allow me to explain, but first, let’s consult the Scriptures and allow them to shed some light on this subject matter. We read in Hebrews 13:5, “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Paul writes also in 1 Timothy 6:6-8, “But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.” Let me ask you a simple question: are you content with what you have and where you are? As Christians, we are called to be grateful and content with where we are and what we have. Sadly, we live in a culture where contentment is warred against. The American dream flies in the face of contentment, as “more” is the mantra of the masses. In fact, contentment has been changed to saying “settling” – which is always used in a negative context. Why “settle” when you can have bigger, better, or more? This is how so many approach life. Marriages fail because rather than being grateful for their spouse, people are constantly still on the lookout for “someone better”. Individuals can never hold down a job longer than a few months, because they are always looking for a better one. It’s the teenager who is so upset about their phone because after all, it’s only an iPhone 12 and not the iPhone 14. And here is the sad part...when we do this, we miss what we have right in front of us. So often we get fooled into thinking that what we don’t have is what we need or really want, that it’s better – and then once we get there…it’s nothing like we thought it would be. In fact, we long for what we had before. As the expression goes, “You never know what you’ve got until it’s gone.” How many people miss watching their children grow up, because they are too busy pursuing “more” elsewhere? How many people walk away from a job that provided everything they needed, only to pursue something else that ended up putting them in an even worse situation physically or emotionally? And this is where I became personally convicted – I realized there have been some things I have not been content with. For example, I have spent a lot of time recently looking at bigger houses. We don’t need more space, but it would sure be nice to have more space now with 5 of us – especially when guests come over to stay or we are hosting events. I have spent countless hours in my free time looking at houses, being shown houses, etc. And every time I think I have found the perfect house I have sought counsel about it from someone that knows a lot more than me. And every time I have asked, “what do you think about this one?” they have pointed out massive things that would have been awful if we had put in an offer. The grass is not always greener…I just needed to open my eyes to realize God has given us everything we need with where we are right now. This is why I also talked about prayer earlier. To help you answer the question, “am I content?” look at your prayer life. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 reads, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” When it comes to your prayer life, what does it consist of – asking God for more blessings? Or thanking him for the ones he’s already given you? Now please don’t misunderstand me – there is a time and place for everything. Perhaps there is a time for a new job, a time for a new home, a time for a new car, etc. But if that is my constant pursuit…I’m missing what is right in front of me and allowing myself to be robbed of the joy I should be taking right now in the things God has given to me. The grass is not always greener. Be prayerful. Be grateful. Be content.
Thank you for tuning in for this week’s episode, and I would invite you back every Wednesday for a brand-new episode each week. If you haven’t already, be sure to find us on Facebook for occasional announcements and special video sessions. If you have benefited from this podcast, please if you’re able to be sure to share it with someone else that you think could benefit from it as well. Until next time, know that I love you, that God loves you, and may we all each & every day set our minds above.