Tears of gratitude streamed down his face. He was so thankful for a cover over his head and that he was able to eat a warm bowl of stew. A blanket of contentment settled over his whole being. All was well.
I am embarrassed to say that I was angry. Every person deserved better in my estimation. How can you be content with a shack and such meager food?? He kindly and quietly said that living in this shack and having some food was way better than sleeping in the field or under a bridge and slowly starving.
Contentment really is about perspective. One of the big side effects of believers going on mission trips to impoverished areas is that they return with guilt that they have so much, too much. But how long is it before they move downward from feeling “more than” to feeling “less than” others, where discontentment has crept back in?
KERNEL OF CONTENTMENT
“A harvest of peace is produced from a seed of contentment.” Proverb
“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.” so we can confidently say, “the Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”Hebrews 13:5-6
There are several elements to the “seed of contentment” in that last verse, and the Lord is the kernel. 1) He has spoken to me and made promises; 2) He has promised that He is with me, never gone, and never unaware; 3) He is committed to me, never giving up, never walking away; and 4) He is my first responder, a helper reacting to my humble plea for help in His time and way.
CONTENTMENT LINKED WITH PEACE
One of my favorite names of God is Jehovah Shalom. It took some time to learn what all is involved in the word ‘Shalom.’ To borrow from modern culture, it is a “holistic wellness” word.
Shalom – wholeness, completeness, rest in my soul, stable prosperity in my finances and assets, no striving for more, harmony in my relationships, physical and mental health, and tranquility in my circumstances.
Jehovah Shalom can satisfy us completely. He has redeemed us and reconciled us to Himself, birthed in us a new divine nature, and has become the Master and careful manager of our circumstances. Those profound truths can greatly influence our contentment. When we get the singlemindedness that only God can really meet our deepest mental and emotional needs, we are able to become completely satisfied. He is enough.
I am not saying that we peacefully cruise to a smiling stop and don’t do our part. We need to work diligently at opportunities provided for us. Whether we are in school, in the marketplace, or working at home, we put our heart and fervent spirit into what lies before us and push to perform with excellence. Punctuality, honesty, character all need to describe us, but also contentment and trust in a sovereign God.
STOPPING WINDOW SHOPPING
What is required to make you feel satisfied, to feel that you have enough? Not sure most of us have really thought that out. We are easily influenced by all the advertising around us … and we begin to desire stuff. We need more, newer, better, faster, bigger. Are we thankful for what we already have?
The Lord has some words for us:
“Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, 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.”I Timothy 6:6-8
“Contentment always eludes those who don’t count themselves blessed for what they already have.” Anonymous