The Lesson of Contentment
By Dan Qurollo
Culture is driven by the prominence and prestige of possessions. The more that one has, the more he is regarded as being successful. Advertising is built upon this basic appeal and attempts to create a desire or perceived need for a particular product. This desire to appear successful has created an increasing attitude of discontentment.
The Bible speaks much on the topic of contentment. Paul acknowledged that this was a process that did not come naturally; instead, it was a learned process. Paul wrote in Philippians 4:11, “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” Paul’s contentment was an inward reality that was not contingent upon circumstances. It was a reality that he had come to learn because he learned the source of true contentment.
Hebrews 13:5-6 teaches us this source of contentment by stating, “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. 6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.” The writer of Hebrews admonishes us that we are to avoid a lifestyle (conversation) that constantly desires more. Such a lifestyle is not characterized by contentment; rather, it is characterized by discontentment. Rather than desiring more, we are to be content with what we currently have, regardless of how favorably or unfavorably you perceive it to be.
Naturally, you might question how such a mindset is possible when you consider what you have. To begin, I would encourage you that you are more blessed than you realize. But the attitude of contentment comes by recognizing what we have in Jesus Christ and the resulting implications. Only those who have placed their trust in Jesus Christ can claim the promise by God, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” What more do we need than God’s presence in our lives? Until we learn that, we will never be content. The discontent person actually does not regard God’s divine presence as enough. Such a mindset creates boldness in verse 6, not fearing what man can do, for the Lord is my helper.
Most believers would quickly acknowledge that God has been very good. The next time you are tempted to complain, consider what you are saying: “God, you have been good, just not good enough for me.” Learn the lesson of contentment.