Jump Start # 3230
Jump Start # 3230
1 Timothy 6:6 Godliness is great gain when accompanied with contentment.”
Yesterday we introduced some thoughts about contentment. We looked at what contentment is not, some common myths about contentment. That’s all good, but we need to understand what contentment is and more so, how do we get to that in our lives. Unsettled, unhappy, unsatisfied, that’s the state when people are not content. And, looking at the opposite of those words, settled, happy and satisfied, that well describes what being content is. This is an attitude and a choice. It comes from within. This is why a jailed apostle can speak of being content. It’s not the external circumstances but the internal peace that comes from Christ that makes all the difference.
I’ve known people who rarely left the county that they were born in, had very little in their lives, but were the most thankful, joyous and generous people I have ever met. My grandparents were that way. Their home was small. His jobs were meager. But their hearts were as big as the world. They did what they could for others and for the kingdom. I never heard them complain. I never heard them say, “I wish we could travel.” But what I saw was a deep faith in the Lord and a contentment that they had been blessed. Here I am, in a big house, multiple cars, TVs, I travel, and I often think that they had something that I don’t.
So, how do we become content?
First, it begins with reshaping your thinking. Contentment is looking at life vertically, not horizontally. Content comes from realizing how good the Lord has been to you. You don’t look at others. You don’t see that others are more blessed and you are less blessed. Contentment is a heart condition. It’s not about how many gifts I receive, but how thankful I am. Satisfied or searching. Rested or restless.
Paul tells us in Philippians that he learned the secret. This is something that we are taught and we must embrace. It’s not natural. It doesn’t just happen. Our culture doesn’t support nor encourage this. You must want this. You look at the apostles. You look at the Lord. Then you look in the mirror. Little room to complain. No place to make demands.
Second, remembering the cross. The cornerstone of contentment is the cross. The cross makes us free. The cross brings us salvation. The cross restores our friendship with God. The cross makes Heaven more than a wish, but a reality. My worth, my net worth, is not a number that can be written on a piece of paper. I am a child of the King. I am a son of God. Heaven is my home. Dropping names of people, places and merchandise does not change who I am. Those are only tools and opportunities for which I shall be held accountable for. Physical things are like food, great for the moment, but it just doesn’t last.
What if you had a red nose like Rudolph? Do you have to be a hero to be content? Do you have to like everyone else before you can be content? The answer is “No.” You are made by God. Jesus died for you. Jesus came to the misfits, the broken and the rejected and the outcasts. Diseased. Social shunned. Ignored. Jesus saw value in everyone, even though others didn’t.
Third, if you never received another blessing the rest of your life, God has been good to you. In Acts 16 we find a bloodied and beaten apostle singing praises to God late at night. How could he do that? He was thankful. He was blessed. He was content. Paul helps us to understand this in Philippians four. There we are to think right (8), pray often (6), put worry on the curb (6), walk with the Lord (7) and allow God to protect you (7).
You may go through life with a red nose, or being the ugly duckling, or the klutz of the family. You may not save Christmas day, be the hero of the hour, or even fit in with everyone else. You may find that you have more in common with Zacchaeus than anyone else. But remember, the Lord came to his house.
Red noses, like Rudolph, some learn to live with it, even laughing at God’s sense of humor. Others, walk through life trying to hide it and deny it, being ashamed, making excuses, living miserably and wishing they could be like everyone else. Life is not a DVD in which we can fast forward through the parts that we do not like.
We are all blessed by the Lord and have been given a second chance. A child was reciting Ps 23 before his Bible class. He said, “The Lord is my shepherd and that’s all I need.”
Well said…well believed.
May these thoughts help us at this holiday season.