1996-05-28 - Contentment
Phil. 4:11 "I have heard that in every estate I should be content."
Now you may all call me to the carpet for twisting the scriptures, for the verse does not say "I have heard", but rather, "I have learned". I was attempting to make a point, it might be on top of my head however, that it is not enough for Christians to hear about their duty, they must also learn their duty. It is one thing to hear and quite another to learn. Are we guilty of hearing much and learning little?
Contentment is an interesting thing. Your estate may be small but God can still bless you through it. It is not how much money we have that is important, but rather how much blessing. So what if you do not have much, the Scriptures speak to you with a promise, "I will abundantly bless her provision, I will satisfy her needy with bread" (Ps. 132:15), a little can go a long way. Be content that you have some; for where the love of God is, there is sweetness. Another may have more than you, more riches, more rest, more revenue, greater inheritance; but while he may hold more, he may enjoy less, you may have less gold, but perhaps fewer worries and less of a troubling conscience.
Discontent does one thing. It keeps us from enjoying what we have. A drop or two of vinegar will sour a whole glass of wine. Comfort depends upon contentment. It is often the case that it is not the trouble that troubles, but the discontent that comes with the trouble. Remember the water outside the ship does not sink it, it is the water that gets inside it that brings it down. So also it is not the outward afflictions that make life sad, because a contented mind sails above these stormy waters. But when there is a leak of discontent, and trouble gets into the heart, then the disquiet comes and the sinking begins.
Here is a true statement if ever there was one: The discontented person thinks that everything he does for God is too much, and everything God does for him is too little.
As Americans we have certain blinders on and these blinders result in certain tendencies. One is that we forget that we are here on this earth but a day. We have only a short journey before us and we do not need to save as if we are going to live 232 years, we will not, we know it, and we need not set provisions for such a journey, none of us are taking such a journey. If a traveller has enough to bring him to his journey's end, he desires no more. So it is with the contented mind.
Lastly, we shall say as David says, "The Lord is the portion of my inheritance" (Ps. 16:5). Let the issues of life fall where they do, in a sick bed, prison, or the street, still with David we shall say, "The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage." (Ps. 16:6)
Soli Deo Gloria,