BE CONTENT (1 of 2)

by Ray Reuter on March 1, 2018

BE CONTENT. Sounds simple enough … and hard to practice. Historian Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., observes that our society is marked by “inextinguishable discontent.” Our quest is “better” and “what is next.” We want a better job with better pay and a better boss. We want better relationships and a better car and a better backhand in tennis or a longer drive in golf. And, we have a propensity to live endlessly for the next thing – the next weekend, the next vacation, the next purchase, and the next experience. We are never satisfied, never content, and envious of those who have what we have not attained or accumulated.

Sadly, that observation contains so much truth. Paul, the apostle, wrote, “I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am in.” (Phil. 4:11). How could he make such a bold statement? Because Paul knew that contentment lies not in what one has, but in whose one is. A lack of contentment causes me to look horizontally – at what others have so I am never satisfied. Contentment invites me to look vertically – at God. When I look in his direction, regardless of my possessions or lack of or status or lack of, I know that he is enough.

John Stott wrote, “Contentment is the secret of inward peace. It remembers the stark truth that we brought nothing into the world and we can take nothing out of it. Life, in fact, is a pilgrimage from one moment of nakedness to another. So we should travel light and live simply. Our enemy is not possessions, but excess. Our battle cry is not ‘Nothing!’ but ‘Enough!’ We’ve got enough. Simplicity says, if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.”

For the Christian: Contentment knows that if we have Jesus we have enough.

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