Most people think they are doing rather well with their Christian life–at least that’s what they want you to think, until you start talking about things such as patience, forgiveness, contentment, etc. Those are “show-stoppers”. These are things we would rather not talk about. Contentment, for example, is something everyone desires but no one wants to discuss. A good way to put a chill on a conversation and make people uncomfortable is to bring up the subject of contentment. They don’t want to hear about it because they know they fail at it, and most of us don’t want to take responsibility for our failures–but we must.
Contentment is commanded. It is an obligation, not an option. And regardless of the circumstances we are never relieved from this duty. The responsibility is squarely on our shoulders. We are the responsible party. Contentment depends upon the person–not his position, possessions, pleasures, or problems. There are no scapegoats to get us off the hook. J. R. Miller wrote, “One is content, living in the poorest way–with bare necessities and no luxuries, working hard and enduring many trials. Another is discontented in a palace– with all the comforts, delicacies, and ease that money can provide. The difference is in the hearts of the two people.” That’s well said.
Ben Franklin said, “ Content makes poor men rich; discontent makes rich men poor”. And there are numerous examples proving this to be true. We see it all around us. There are those living the life-style of the rich and famous who are miserable, and there are those who live in poverty with perfect peace. How about you? Have you learned, as Paul, “to be content“?
I suspect that we’re seldom honest when it comes to this matter. I’m afraid that we pretend much more than we would like to admit. We claim one thing, but the evidence points to another. Americans are more covetous and less content than anyone. Facts are stubborn things, and they also can be embarrassing. But we can’t change what we don’t acknowledge. The first step in becoming content is admitting we’re not.
For many years I’ve kept a little plague in my office which says, “I complained because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet.” With Thanksgiving coming up we need to start thinking more about what we have and less about what we don’t. Think about it!