Summary: In seeing the title of the sermon you may be thinking, "he can't be serious. Content during COVID? How?" Paul said that he learned the secret to contentment. With the way things are going it would do us well to learn that secret.
BEING CONTENT DURING COVID
In seeing the title of the sermon you may be thinking, "he can't be serious. Content during COVID? How?" Before the holidays hit we were making strides. The numbers were going down, businesses were opening back up, etc. We may have started to get our hopes up that we would be out of the woods before long. Then the next wave hit.
The numbers became worse than they were back in March and April. Talk about being discouraged. The air was taken out of our balloon. We went from climbing up and out to sinking deeper into it. Now they're talking about a new strain that's making its way across the U.S. And even though there's a vaccine, right now the numbers are high, schools and businesses are still closed and frustration and despair still looms.
"And you want us to be content with all that?" No, that's why my sermon is titled being content during COVID, not with COVID. None of us are content with having COVID around. But despite the long and arduous pandemic it doesn't mean we can't be content in our current situation. Paul said that he learned the secret to contentment. With the way things have been going it would do us well to learn that secret.
1) The illusion of contentment.
Many people think the cure for discontentment is to have more. The more I have the more content I will be. But that's an illusion. The reality is the more you get the less satisfied you will become. Why? Because the more you get the more you want.
Ecc. 5:10, “Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless.”
John D. Rockefeller, often regarded as the richest person in history, was asked, ‘How much money is enough? He answered, “Just a little bit more.” Charles Spurgeon said, “You say, ‘If I had a little more, I should be very satisfied.’ You make a mistake. If you are not content with what you have, you would not be satisfied if it were doubled.”
And there it is. The illusion of contentment is in thinking if you have more you will be content but for a person who's not content, having more will just add to your discontent, not help it. I've known people who have gotten more. And by my observations they are not content; in fact they are miserable.
One of the reasons a lover of money never has money enough is because the more he gets the more he spends. Easy come-easy go. The windfall is gone with the wind. And many times after the money is gone there's nothing to show for it. And shortly thereafter, they're crying the blues.
The illusion of contentment is that you think whatever you buy with your money will make you happy and fulfilled. "If I just have this, I'll be happy". And you are-for a minute. Then that wears off and your eyes spot something else that you can't live without. After a while you have all these things that you just had to have but now are looking at with discontent. We don't need more in order to be content; we don't need more in order to enjoy life.
Once a rich industrialist was disturbed to find a fisherman sitting idly by his boat. He asked, "Why aren't you out there fishing?" "I've caught enough fish for the day." "Why don't you catch more than you need?" "What would I do with them?"
"You could earn more money and buy a better boat so you could go deeper and catch more fish. You could purchase some nylon nets, catch even more fish and make even more money. Before long you'd have a whole fleet of boats and be rich, like me." "Then what would I do?" "Then you could sit back and enjoy life." "What do you think I'm doing now?"
Not that it's wrong to be industrious, but we don't need a better boat in order to enjoy life. As the saying goes, “Contentment is not having everything you want, but wanting everything you have.”
Sometimes it's not about money. If we're in a frustrating situation or going through hardship or sickness we can be discontent. We're disappointed, frustrated and unhappy. We're not satisfied with our situation. That's understandable. But if we think we would be content if our situation improved we have a problem.
There's another illusion of contentment. We think the secret to being content is not having any problems. It's true that if we're suffering and that suffering ends we're going to be happier. But what about when the next trying situation comes?
Contentment doesn't come and go; it's not something that is here today and gone tomorrow. Contentment is constant; like joy. Joy doesn't depend on our circumstances, it's continual. Joy is a state of being, not an emotion. It's dependent on a relationship with Jesus not circumstances.