Contentment does not come from achievement. It comes from the Lord.
– Paul Henderson –
To begin, I want to thank people for the encouragement following the sermon last week. It is good to hear that God was speaking to people on Sunday.
As a result of several conversations over the past days I decided to add several thoughts to the sermon. If you were not in the service on Sunday, I encourage you to listen to the sermon.
1. Apathy? When challenging people to move from constantly striving for more, to a place of contentment there is a question related to apathy: “Is there danger of our encouraging people to move to a place of apathy; and attitude of “whatever happens, happens?”
While there is the possibility of that taking place, I don’t think it is a high probability. I believe that God has created us with a healthy desire for movement. We have a built in desire to improve ourselves and our situation.
Now, it may happen that we do become lazy and apathetic. This could happen if we experience depression or a situation of burnout. It may be that because of a long term situation we somehow develop an attitude of “entitlement” and expect that others or God will provide for us. Just as God’s word speaks against an attitude of not being content, it also speaks against laziness. Contentment is somewhere in the middle – that’s what we aim for.
2. Submitting. As we try to move to a place of contentment we need to submit every day to God’s will. It would be good for us to begin each day with a quick prayer of; “God, I submit to your will today. Give me the ability to do those things that are important to you.”
This is part of our “seeking first the kingdom of God.” As we have this as a daily prayer we will find that the desires of God become our desires. This will provide significant contentment.
3. Learning. On Sunday I referenced Philippians 4 where the Apostle Paul stated that he had “learned to be content” whatever situation he was in. As a result of a conversation at the Elders meeting on Monday a light suddenly came on. A key word is “learned.”
Paul “learned” to be content. Don’t for a moment think that it was easy for him. Don’t be thinking that because he was so spiritual that contentment somehow came naturally for him. Paul, like us, had to “learn” to be content. I suspect that this was something he struggled with. It wasn’t easy.
It is also important to understand that Paul wrote this from prison in Rome. He wasn’t writing this as he sat at a seaside resort or while watching a beautiful sunset. He wrote this at a very difficult time of life. He was facing death. It was also later in life that he wrote this. Don’t expect contentment to come easy, quickly or early in life. Strive for it, work towards it, but don’t have the expectation of a sudden, earthshattering type of change; however, God, if he chose could do that in our life!
Just as contentment wasn’t easy for Paul, it likely won’t be easy for us. If we desire to have a life of contentment (and I urge us towards this), it will be a process – likely a slow process where we slowly learn contentment as we constantly, repeatedly commit ourselves to God.
I hope these additional thoughts are helpful. If you have comments or questions, please submit them.
– Pastor George –