Content or Contempt

     My mind has been brought today to ponder the meaning of “contentment.”

     We know that we cannot possibly possess or experience all that we desire. There are so many sights I would like to see and things I would like to have here in my home and occupation! Some of them I likely will, but all of them? Impossible. There will always be something more.

     So we step back and try to define contentment as being satisfied with the way things are, even if they are not everything we could imagine them to be. Yet that also seems to never be possible. How can I be satisfied while I have friends with illness, neighbors with sorrow, and live in a world where hatred and war can always be found? Yes, I may be reasonably comfortable both in supply and safety, but simply looking out my windows makes me unsatisfied with the way things are.

     Is it therefore impossible to be content?

     No, not impossible. There are things I can desire that I will never have, but there is nothing of value to my true self that I do not currently possess. I know love, expressed in the infinite degree (John 3:16). I know peace that cannot be broken even by my own inconsiderate actions (Romans 5:1). I know success untarnished by any worldly measure (Romans 8:37).

     But these sources of contentment are not dependent on me. That is where the difference lies. I am not the one that accumulated these things nor am I able to keep them in my possession. It all depends on him. Because of him, though the world should crumble around me (and in many ways it does again and again, day after day) still I am at peace and happy, safe on the road to a fantastic destiny, helping the hurting souls around me to find the same source of life for themselves.


Side note: May I never let my contentment become self-satisfaction. That would cause me to overlook the true needs of others in the world. Part of my well blessed life is best known when offering aid to those who are and who feel afflicted by Satan. The list of those who are caught in the throes of conflict rather than peace are great, including family conflict, illness, bereavement, tragedy (today’s floods, last month’s earthquakes), poverty, addiction, unrealistic expectations, educational and business competition, etc., etc., etc. Let us not bring contempt against the Lord by being people that are unaffected by the needs of our neighbors.

 

Gary Greene

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