Summary: How to find contentment when we’re dissatisfied with our job, our faith, and our income.
Have you ever really wanted something? I mean wanted something so badly that you could taste it, so bad that you thought your life would be empty and meaningless until you got it. Maybe it was a certain toy growing up, or a certain kind of car, or a relationship, maybe even a motorcycle. As you looked at the object of your desire, you realized that you’d never rest until you had it. Have you ever felt that way?
Have you ever had the experience of finally getting what you’d wanted for so long? At first it feels so good, but gradually the newness starts to wear off. Pretty soon we start seeing imperfections in what we once thought was perfect. If it’s a toy, it breaks the day after Christmas. If it’s a car, it breaks down, and the warranty doesn’t cover the repairs. If it’s a relationship, we gradually start seeing that person’s character flaws and idiosyncrasies. Soon we realize that having whatever it was that we couldn’t live without isn’t all we thought it would be.
I’ve lived that story again and again in my life, and I’m sure you probably have too. When I was a child it was a new toy, perhaps a G. I. Joe or a bike or a skateboard. During my high school years it was having a girlfriend, thinking that if I just went out with the right person, my life would be complete. As an adult it’s been being at the right ministry, getting the fastest computer, having the right home, or even buying a motorcycle.
You know exactly what I’m talking about don’t you? Dissatisfaction with what we have is an American epidemic. Perhaps its an epidemic we’re susceptible to because we live in the most affluent society in the history of the human race. Dissatisfaction is an epidemic that’s carefully fed by the advertising industry, as it promises us again and again that our dissatisfaction will disappear if we just buy this or that product. We all know those advertising promises aren’t really true, but something deep inside our soul that’s not rational cries out, "Maybe this will make my restlessness go away." Dissatisfaction is what leads husbands to leave their wives after fifteen years of marriage; it’s what tempts people to max out their credit cards to buy new clothes.
This restlessness inside of each of us is especially strong at Christmas. I read an editorial in Newsweek two weeks ago that made this exact same point (Anna Quindlen, "Honestly--You Shouldn’t Have NEWSWEEK 12/3/01 p. 76). The author of the editorial Anna Quindlen pointed out that our nation has more malls than it has high schools, that we as Americans spend more time shopping than we do reading. The author concludes, "The holidays should be a time to honor our best values, not a time to muffle them in layers of stuff."
Muffled in layers of stuff…what a graphic description of American life today. Perhaps this is one reason why so many people get depressed during the holidays and why marriages start showing the signs of strain and stress. So this third weekend of advent as we light the candle of joy, we’re going to talk about keys to contentment. We’re going to look at three areas where we struggle with dissatisfaction, and how our relationship with God can help us find contentment where we feel restless and dissatisfied.We’ve been in a series through the New Testament books of 1 and 2 Timothy called Deepening Your Life With God. Today we’re going to look at 1 Tim 6:1-10 as we talk about keys to contentment.