Sermon Illustrations

Contentedness is blessedness, (Hebrews “be content with what you have”, Paul “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation”) but in this life it is hard to find contentment. It is difficult to be content when we are bombarded by images and slogans and advertisements that’s sole purpose is to try to get us to WANT something. (We can even cater to this in the church). We are naturally consumers and as a result are naturally never satisfied. No matter how much we get, or how much we gain, or how much we achieve, we are never satisfied – it is never enough. We always want more.

You know, some Christians can be described in this way – in spite of being perfectly blessed, and cared for, it is still not enough – they are not content. In his book, "A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23", Philip Keller says, “In spite of having such a master and owner, the fact remains that some Christians are still not satisfied with His control. They are somewhat dissatisfied, always feeling that the grass beyond the fence must be a little greener.”

Keller shares a story about a particular ewe (female sheep) who fit this kind of description. He called her “Mrs. Gad-about.” He said:

She was one of the most attractive sheep that ever belonged to me. Her body was beautifully proportioned. She had a strong build and an excellent coat of wool. Her head was clean, alert, well-set with bright eyes. She bore sturdy lambs that matured rapidly.

But in spite of all these attractive attributes she had one pronounced fault. She was restless – discontented – a fence crawler.

This one ewe produced more problems for me than almost all the rest of the flock combined.

No matter what field or pasture the sheep were in, she would search all along the fences or shoreline (we lived by the sea) looking for a loophole she could crawl through and start to feed on the other side.

It was not that she lacked pasturage. My fields were my joy and delight. No sheep in the district had better grazing. With “Mrs. Gad-about” it was an ingrained habit. She was simply never contented with things as they were. Often when she had forced her way through some such spot in a fence or found a way around the end of the wire at low tide on the beaches, she would end up feeding on bare, brown, burned-up pasturage of a most inferior sort.

But she never learned her lesson and continued to fence crawl time after time.