Sing this hymn with me. They will know we are Christians by our stuff, by our stuff. Wait….that’s not right! Isn’t it they will know we are Christians by our LOVE, by our LOVE? The truth is, Christians often lack contentment just like many other people. We all aspire to do great things in life, but what defines greatness? Does the size of our house, or the type of car, define our greatness? If I drive a 2017 Mercedes and my neighbor drives a 1998 Ford Focus, am I more accomplished than he is? Maybe not – and probably not.
In fact, 1 Timothy 6:6-10 reminds us that contentment has nothing to do with how much we possess. “Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world , and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”
God calls each of us to serve Him in various ways. God blesses some monetarily, others creatively, and many other different ways. No matter how he chooses to bless us, we must bloom where we are planted
Often, the problem occurs when we are not content. As we go through life, we think we are striving for the right things, but poor planning leads us to discontentment later. When we strive to find contentment in what we don’t have, then we become anxious or depressed – and discontent. This is a very lonely place to be
“But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity.Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content:I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:10-13
It doesn’t mean we need to do all things. Paul is saying he has learned to be content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living with much or little. And it is because of this that he “can do all this through Christ who strengthens me”.
Maybe contentment is found in enduring, and not so much in doing. One thing for certain is that being content or discontent is a choice. It is about humbling ourselves before God and trusting how He has chosen to use us for His Kingdom.
Contentment is not a synonym for laziness; and so, it doesn’t mean we should sit and do nothing. Some synonyms for contentment include serenity, gladness, satisfaction, happiness and pleasure. If we get out there and serve God with gladness, I guarantee we will find contentment when we see how God uses us.