Sunday, February 19, 2012

Contentment


“But godliness with contentment is great gain.”  I Timothy 6:6  (KJV)

There is a Veggie Tales song written by Phil Vischer that goes like this…

I thank God for this day,
For the sun in the sky,
For my mom and my dad,
For my piece of apple pie!
For our home on the ground,
For His love that's all around,
That's why I say thanks every day!

Because a thankful heart is a happy heart!
I'm glad for what I have,
That’s an easy way to start!
For the love that He shares,
'Cause He listens to my prayers,
That's why I say thanks every day!

“The richest person is not the one who has the most, but the one that needs the least.”

To me, being content is wanting, and as the song above says, being glad for, exactly what I have.  Not longing for more.  Not trying to change, rearrange, or recreate anything.  Just happy and complete….right where I am…with whom I’m with. 

The Apostle Paul said in Philippians 4:11 (KJV), “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”  Contentment requires learning.  It isn’t automatically born into us.  We must learn what is important in our individual lives, learn what we value, and learn what our priorities should be.  When we identify those important issues, we learn to be thankful for the ones and things that matter most.  Then we can be content with who and what we have….right now…and not long for anyone or anything else. 

Paul had learned this wonderful secret to happiness, and his life was fulfilled…just the way it was.  Remember, this was penned by the man who said these words…”Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.  Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.  Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.  Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches. “ 2 Corinthians 11:23-28  (KJV)

Did you absorb all of that?  Hard Christian labor; stripes more than he could count; frequent imprisonment; oftentimes near death; five scourgings within an inch of his life; three severe beatings with rods; a stoning; three shipwrecks; a night and a day in the ocean without rescue; oft travels; treacherous waters; jeopardy of robberies; suspicion among his own countrymen; danger among heathens; perils in the city, wilderness, the sea, and among hypocrites; utter and complete mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion; pain; sleeplessness; starving; thirsty; fasting; cold; and without clothing.  Can you imagine?  THIS is the man who said he had learned that no matter what his outward circumstances, he could find an inward contentment. 

I guess when a person compares their lot with the Apostle Paul, no one really has anything to complain about, huh?  I don’t think any of us can testify to circumstances that come anywhere near close to the life he had to live….no, let me rephrase that…he CHOSE to live.  From some of those dank, dingy, dreary prison cells came some of the deepest and most profound of his writings that now make up a big part of our New Testament.  He was thankful that he was counted worthy to preach and write the Gospel of Jesus Christ….no matter what his outward circumstances.

Can you say, with Paul that you have learned to be content?  Is your current situation enough?  Do you have food on your table and clothes on your back?  In I Timothy 6:8 (KJV), we read, “And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.”  Written by whom?  You guessed it….the Apostle Paul.  Who among us readers can say that we only have food and clothes?  Can’t we all attest to having much, much more?  So, why the discontent?  Why the complaining?  Why the constant craving for more? 

In my daily prayers….in my constant heart-cries, I thank God for the ultimate sacrifice He made for me on Calvary, for the sweetness of my relationship with Him, for the dear and kind husband He allows me to walk hand-in-hand through life with, the sweet son He sent after years of longing, and all of the many people in my life who mean something to me.  I thank Him for all of the things, too…all of the creature comforts…the little things that seem insignificant….the moments that seem not worth mentioning.  All of it is woven together to make up my life and the existence I love.  A continual attitude of gratitude and thanksgiving makes a contented heart, and yes, as the little Veggie girl sings, a happy heart.

It is invaluable, beyond worth, and more precious than gold to reach a place of true contentment.  To not long for one more thing.  To feel a deep, resolved sense of settled…happiness….contentment.  It’s there for you, my friend.  You can learn it.  You can attain it.  No matter how old your car, how new your furniture, how big your house, what your marital state, how much the size of your bank account or lack thereof.  Because you see the best things in life are….well, not things at all.  The supreme best thing in life is knowing Jesus Christ….really, truly knowing Him.  Allowing Him to fill every fiber, reach every remote darkened corner, soak grace into every longing, and inhabit every tiny grain of your composition.  He calls to you now, “Come unto Me…learn of Me…for I am meek and lowly, and you will find rest.” 
He is the ultimate Teacher of contentment.  After all, He is the One Who voluntarily, willingly gave up everything….to have absolutely nothing

No comments:

Post a Comment