Summary: The problem of dissatisfaction is a human problem. The answer to the conundrum of unfettered contentment is a spiritual answer that must be sought, found and maintained in Christ at all times!
Series: “7 Spiritually Healthy Habits”
Perth Bible Church Sunday, December 6, 2009 AM
Rev. Todd G. Leupold
It's the first Sunday of December and snow is finally on the ground. It is officially the season of giving and getting, making your list and checking it twice . We want everything to be . . .(dare I say it ...) HUGE! We think of all that we desire and all that we do not have. Sometimes, it's things we never had and sometimes it's things that we once had, but have no more. For example, consider:
Video: Parody of Beatle's Yesterday (Hair Today) – Phil Callaway
The 17th Century German philosopher and theologian, Immanuel Kant, pointed out: “Give a man everything he desires and yet at this very moment he will feel that everything is not everything.”
The problem of dissatisfaction is a human problem. The answer to the conundrum of unfettered contentment is a spiritual answer that must be sought, found and maintained in Christ at all times!
The 16th Century British theologian, William Law instructed: “One who makes it a rule to be content in every part and accident of life because it comes from God praises God in a much higher manner than one who has some set time for the singing of psalms.”
Philippians 4:11-14 I don't say this out of need, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content--whether well-fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me. Still, you did well by sharing with me in my hardship. (HCSB, emphasis mine)
WHAT WE NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CONTENTMENT:
I.) CONTENTMENT IS LEARNED
Noticed how this is emphasized twice in the Scripture we just read.
Contentment is not something we are born with.
Contentment is not something that just happens to us.
It is not something we can simply find, earn or buy.
It is not something that someone else can give us.
Contentment IS something which everyone must LEARN. It is achieved through a process of growing faith and truth as we trust Christ in all things while recognizing and receiving all of his graces.
Therefore, it is something that is developed and then maintained and increased over time and through intentional faith in action!
Henry Ward Beecher, a prominent 19th century pastor, social activist, and brother of Harriet Beecher Stowe (author of Uncle Tom's Cabin), cautions: “A man looking at the present in light of the future, and taking his whole being into account, may be contented with his lot: that is Christian contentment. But if a man has come to that point where he is so content that he says 'I do not want to know any more, or do any more , or be any more,' he is in a state in which he ought to be changed into a mummy.'”
II.) CONTENTMENT IS CONTINUOUS
It is to be maintained it . . .
A.) All Situations
Those that feel good and those that feel bad.
When things seem to go right, and when things seem to go wrong.
In pleasure and in pain.
In success and in failure.
In what we understand and in what confuses and frustrates us.
When we have much and when we have little.
When we are treated well and when we are treated unjustly.
When we think the grass under our feet is greenest and when we think the grass across the way will be even greener.
In authority or in submission.
The great reformer, Martin Luther, humbly asserted: “Next to faith this is the highest art – to be content with the calling in which God has placed you. I have not learned it yet.”
B.) All Things
Thomas Fuller, 17th Century English churchman and historian, once remarked: “Contentment consists not in adding more fuel, but in taking away some fire; not in multiplying of wealth, but in subtracting our desires.”
Our continuous contentment needs to include our finances – whether it be their abundance or their lack.
Not only the finances we have, but the wages we make.
Luke 3:12-14 Tax collectors also came to be baptized, and they asked him, "Teacher, what should we do?" He told them, "Don't collect any more than what you have been authorized." Some soldiers also questioned him: "What should we do?" He said to them, "Don't take money from anyone by force or false accusation; be satisfied with your wages."
Hebrews 13:5-6 Your life should be free from the love of money. Be satisfied with what you have, for He Himself has said, I will never leave you or forsake you. Therefore, we may boldly say: The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?