Thoughts on Developing Contentment

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This series by Pastor Dave on “Developing Contentment” has told us, obviously, that it is an inside job and that contentment is not automatic. Being an inside job seems to put the emphasis on us, and that is where we might want to stop.  If it depends on me it just will not happen.  It is hard to be content.  But there is a lot of incentive to develop contentment, and we have help.  Paul says ‘It is God who works in us both to will and to do for His good pleasure’, in Philippians 2:13.  So let us pay attention.

The Lord Jesus has already told us in Luke 12:15, ‘take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses’.  Again, He said, ‘What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?’ in Matthew 16:26. Paul said of this world in Acts 17:31, ‘God has appointed a day on which He will judge the world’. Paul also said in Colossians 3:2, ‘set your minds on things above not on earthly things.’, and in 2 Corinthians 4:18, ‘we fix our eyes NOT on what is seen, but on what is not seen. For what is seen is temporary what is not seen is eternal. ‘, and finally in Philippians 1:3, ‘my desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is “far better”’.

Now there nothing wrong with having wealth and possessions. Some people having these things have been very generous to other, but it is hard to be content, and contentment is what we are talking about.  C.S. Lewis said “the people who do not have their thoughts and eyes on the invisible world are ineffective in this one”.  We are so glad for those who have wealth, who have given of it and influenced and achieved so much good throughout history and in this present world.

Beware, however, there are wrong motives for wanting wealth.  In the New Testament James warns of these.  James 4:2-3, ‘You lust and do not have.  You murder and covet and you cannot obtain.  You fight and war.  Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives.’

Let us ask: What for? Why do men fight to gain more? Gangs want more turf. Nations want more territory for their empires. Corporations want more profit. Why? Why spend so much effort on a world that is already appointed for judgment, a world that is passing away?

There are some instructions from the apostle Paul that may seem strange and hard to understand in 1 Corinthians 7:29 – 31: ‘But this I say brethren, time is short so that from now on those who have wives should be as though they had none, those who weep as if they did not weep, those who rejoice as though they did not rejoice, those who buy as though they did not possess and those who use this world as not misusing it. For the form of this world is passing away.’ He is talking about some very intimate relationships, and this passage may seem difficult unless you realise that he has his eyes on the eternal world. He has his mind on what he already called ‘things far better.’

If the apostle Paul thought time was short then, what would he think now?  He would say what he has already said in 1 Timothy 6:6-7: ‘godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content’.

Notice the word “content” and now we see why it must be developed.  We have an even better incentive.  That is from our Heavenly Father, in Hebrews 13:5: ‘Let your conduct be without covetousness and be content with such thing as you have.  For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” ‘.  These are a few more thoughts as to why Pastor Dave was led to teach on this important subject.  Let us get to work!  And come join us for Pastor Dave’s next series on prayer