Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. (1 Tim. 6:17-18)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The two sides of contentment

Definition of contentment

What does true contentment really mean, anyway? Does it mean that we just sit around with a smile plastered on our face, fully satisfied with our current circumstances? Maybe. Does it mean that we never purchase anything but the bare essentials of life? Could be.

The textbook definition of contentment is:

Desiring no more than what one has; satisfied.

Another side of contentment

I recently ran across a great quote regarding the two parts of contentment:

It is right to be contented with what we have, but never with what we are. - James Mackintosh

In God's Word, we read in 1 Timothy 6:6-8:

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.

God wants us to be content with what He has given to us and with the state of our current circumstances, but He also wants us to be active for Kingdom purposes with the material blessings and circumstances He has blessed us with. When Paul wrote to Timothy in the verses above, he was sitting in a Roman jail awaiting his execution at the hands of Emperor Nero. The Apostle Paul was content with his current situation, but even in jail, he wasn't sitting around waiting for the end to come. He pursued godliness. He was still growing as a believer and doing what God called Him to do. He was still focused on building God's Kingdom through being a witness in prison, as well as writing and encouraging the leaders of the early church. Who knows, if Paul hadn't been placed in prison, we might not even have some of the great books of the Bible that we currently have.

So, learn to be content with the material possessions and circumstances God has given you today, but don't be content with who you are as a believer in Christ. Keep growing in your relationship with Him. Keep working out your faith and building God's Kingdom with what you have today. Pursue godliness with contentment, because He has promised that it will be to our ultimate gain.

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