Friday, September 11, 2009

Today's Content: Being Content

In last Sunday's sermon, our preacher talked about contentment. It was based on 1 Timothy 6:6-11.

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.

I believe contentment is a valuable attribute if applied appropriately. A person who is always discontent no matter how well off they are will find themselves stressed much of the time, always trying to determine what their next step on the stairway to contentment should be. But once that step is reached, there will be yet another, and another. So, it is a good idea to have an attitude of contentment in whatever circumstances we find ourselves. However, we don't want to be completely content either lest we become complacent and never try to better our lives. Let me explain.

I have heard of a number of POWs that despaired over their circumstances thinking that they would never be free or that they could not endure the time they would be captive. Sometimes these people gave up and died. However, others took on an attitude of contentment. Yet, even in the midst of being content they still strove to find a way of escape. This gave them hope for the future. I believe this combination, contentment and hope, is a good one. It allows us to be satisfied with current conditions, but have a reason to believe that an even better day is coming.

The contentment/hope team is also helpful in less dire circumstances than being a POW. It can be useful to the person working a dead end minimum wage job who aspires to get a higher education which in turn will lead to a better job. It can even be useful to the workaholic multi-millionaire Wall Street financier who aspires to slow down the pace and spend more time with family.

The basic idea is this: always strive to improve your life in any way possible by setting achievable goals, making honest plans, and following through with them. But if you fail, or it takes a lot longer to achieve your goals than you had hoped for, be content with the things you do have along the journey. You will be better off physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

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