Summary: contentment in Christ through all things
In the 7th chapter of 1st Corinthians, Paul has moved from discussing the disorder of the church to answering the list of questions that the Corinthians had sent him. These questions ranged from being single to marriage, eating meat offered to idols, standards for proper behavior in worship, orderliness in the Lord’s Supper, spiritual gifts, and the resurrection. From this chapter through the 24th verse of the 16th chapter Paul is answering these questions. Ironically these are some of the same questions and issues that plaque God’s church today.
This morning I would like for us to view just a few of these verses together rather than reading the whole chapter. Let’s look at verses 7-8; 17; 19-20; 24; 29-31; 35. I believe these verses have one precious theme... do you see it?
How many of you read the paper and its comic section? Do you remember Calvin and Hobbes?
ILL Notebook: Contentment: (C & H—if tigers weren’t content)
Calvin and his pet tiger, Hobbes, are walking in the woods, when Calvin says, “I wonder why people are never content with what they have.
Hobbes responds with, “Are you kidding? Your fingernails are a joke, you’ve got no fangs, you can’t see at night, your pink hides are ridiculous, your reflexes are nothing, and you don’t even have tails! Of course people aren’t content!
Calvin answers, “Forget I said anything.”
To which Hobbes responds, “Now if tigers weren’t content, that would be something to wonder about.”
Do you struggle with contentment?
I think that it is interesting that as human beings, the more that we have, the less content we are.
Have you ever noticed that?
I have found that true in my life.
So…it makes me ask…what is the secret to contentment?
WE CAN ONLY TRULY BE CONTENT IN THE LOVE OF GOD.
No matter what our circumstances, we can be content.
No matter what our station in life, whether married or single, widow or widower, loss of a partner through divorce or death, we can be content. When we are content in the love of God, Paul says that we will have a zeal for God in the right way; that is in an undivided devotion.
Paul says that our outer circumstances do not change that each of us has a gift from God. When we use our gifts do to our contentment in the love of God, we will find God’s blessings through and through.
Let me give you an example I think will help you see what I’m saying.
There is an old Chinese tale about a woman whose only son died. In her grief, she went to the holy man and said, "What prayers, what magical incantations do you have to bring my son back to life?" Instead of sending her away or reasoning with her, he said to her: "Fetch me a mustard seed from a home that has never known sorrow. We will use it to drive the sorrow out of your life." The woman set off at once in search of that magical mustard seed. She came first to a splendid mansion, knocked at the door, and said: "I am looking for a home that has never known sorrow. Is this such a place? It is very important to me." They told her, "You’ve certainly come to the wrong place" and began to describe all the tragedies that had recently befallen them. The woman then said to herself, "Who is better able to help these poor unfortunate people than I, who have had misfortune of my own?" She stayed to comfort them, and then went on in her search for a home that had never known sorrow. But wherever she turned, in hovels and in palaces, she found one tale after another of sadness and misfortune. Ultimately, she be-came so involved in ministering to other people’s needs and grief that she forgot about her quest for the magical mustard seed, never realizing that it had in fact driven the sorrow out of her life.
There is hope, especially as we become focused on something other than ourselves. Self-pity is the greatest tool used by the devil to destroy our contentment in Christ; especially, when we are confronted by difficult and overwhelming situations. But we can and will find God’s blessing if we search for it.
None of us are immune and we all have been confronted with the temptation to look at what others have and say we would be happy if our lives were like theirs were.
There are plenty of examples of this in our member’s lives, but I will use my own family…
For instance, my wife wanted children and for some reason she is unable to have any.
My step-father has Alzheimer’s disease and can’t even remember that the rest room is where you are to go when you need wash yourself and perform bodily functions.