In the world but not of it

February 22, 2010

Contentment…

Filed under: Uncategorized — In the world but not of it @ 5:00 am

Now godliness with contentment is great gain. 1 Timothy 6:6

Who is rich? He that is content. Who is that? Nobody. – Benjamin Franklin

Contentment, in the original way the word was used, means to be completely satisfied with the necessities of life. Not the “wants” but the “needs”…

Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 9:8 “And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others”.

But even though God provides, don’t confuse being content with …

  • Laziness … I am not going to do anymore than I have to.
  • Complacency … I don’t desire to have anymore.
  • Apathy … I could care less if I have anymore.

Contentment is satisfaction in what (not with what) God has given me at this time and in this place.

Why aren’t we content with our lives? Simply because our focus and our priorities are in the wrong order. We spend too much time setting expectations and demands on our lives that are completely false, fabricated and influenced by society rather than seeing what God wants from us.

We lack true worship and devotion in our lives. I find that when I am discontent it is a flag that the state of my heart towards God may be waning and allowing the world to creep in.

I love what David said in Psalm 16:6 “The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Yes, I have a good inheritance”.  Here the lines represent the boundaries that God set in his life; the things he had and didn’t have. Looking back David could see God’s hand in it all and know with certainty that he had been blessed. He experienced contentment.

Paul too had the right attitude when he said in Philippians 4:10-13 “How grateful I am, and how I praise the Lord that you are concerned about me again. I know you have always been concerned for me, but for a while you didn’t have the chance to help me.  Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to get along happily whether I have much or little. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need”.

Notice what Paul says. Contentment has to be “learned” (I have learned) … there is a “learning curve”, a growing process to becoming content.

Learning to be content involves action on our part to do certain things…

  • Learn to not compare … whatever the circumstances … with what you have vs. what others have, how God works in your life vs. the lives of others, etc…
  • Learn to be flexible … in any and every situation by adjusting to the reality not the fantasy of what you wish it to be.
  • Learn to appreciate … what you do have, rather than what you don’t have.

How do I learn such contentment? Well it is more than just mind over matter, but it is your relationship with Christ. What we really long for, whether we can articulate it or not, is Christ and to be with Him one day in heaven.

We are pilgrims passing through a foreign land that constantly desires to draw us in. Isn’t it interesting how Moses and Zipporah named their son Gershom, which means stranger in the land? Names had special meanings then and his was a profound statement about the reality that he was just passing through. We are just passing through so let our contentment be in Christ alone.

There was once an ancient Persian, Ali Hafed, who “owned a very large farm that had orchards, grain fields, and gardens… and he was a wealthy contented man.”

One day a wise man from the East told the farmer all about diamonds and how wealthy he would be if he owned a diamond mine. Ali Hafed went to bed that night a poor man–poor because he was discontented. Craving a mine of diamonds, he sold his farm to search for the rare stones.

He traveled the world over, finally becoming so poor, broken, and defeated that he committed suicide. One day the man who purchased Ali Hafed’s farm led his camel into the garden to drink. As his camel put its nose into the brook, the man saw a flash of light from the sands of the stream. He pulled out a stone that reflected all the hues of the rainbow.

The man had discovered the diamond mine of Golcanda, the most magnificent mine in all history. Had Ali Hafed remained at home and dug in his own garden, then instead of death in a strange land, he would have had acres of diamonds.

Be content with what you have…

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