Why Contentment Is Essential In Uncertain Times

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.”-Philippians 4:11

It’s a crazy world out there, isn’t it? So much anger, hostility, rage, bitterness, and fear- it could put anyone on medication.

So, how do we handle it? How do we deal with the fear? How do we deal with the rising gas prices, the unemployment, not getting paid enough?

The easy answer and hard answer: Be content!

I have been watching my two year old son play with his toys. It’s been pretty fun watching this stage. His joy over a drum set, his laughter over an Elmo that laughs with him, but most of all his imagination is what gets me.

One day, he started saying “Arggh! Pi-at!” It took me a second, but I figured out he was saying “Argh! Pirate!” My reply, “Are you a pirate buddy?” His response, “Yeah!! Argh! Pi-at! Cap’n on ship!” He was in his little tent pretending to guide a ship to “Cat Island” (if you listen to the RELEVANT podcast then you’ll get the reference, if not, listen to the podcast).

I thought about buying him a pirate outfit. I thought about looking for a pirate ship he could ride around on. Then, I realized he is two and he gets excited over a box, so I gave him a paper towel
tube. He LOVED it!! He put it straight to his eye and yelled “Argh!!! Pi-at!!” He was truly happy and content with a paper towel tube and I saved, possibly $100, which is a rough estimate with inflation and the growing popularity of pirates.

Here is what I know about my two year old, he doesn’t have anything to compare his life to. As far as he knows, at least from what I can tell, he has the richest life of a two year old in the history of two year olds. At this point in time, he isn’t saying “Yeah, yeah, argh, pi-at. I think this would be better if I could be like little Timmy down the street with a giant tree house and slide. Oh, and maybe like that one little kid up the road with a real boat! C’mon mommy and daddy, get it together. My life is miserable.” The main reason he doesn’t say things like this is because he is two, but secondly is because he has enough.

Perhaps this is why we are called to come to God as a little child? Maybe, just maybe, if we did we would be content with what He has provided for us and not worry about the craziness of life?
What does it mean to be content? It means accepting what you have, being joyful in it, and not allowing yourself to compare your life with others.

It’s hard to be content with what we have in this day and age. We have so many things vying for our attention and our money. We see commercials telling us we need this item or how you can’t be complete without ___________.

However, we need to remember that what we have is given to us by God. We will not have everything we want, but we will receive everything we need. God has given everything we could have ever asked for in His Son by giving us eternal life through His sacrifice. That in itself should be enough for us.

We might think, “Man, I would really like that fancy-shmancy (technical term) SUV, but I have this rundown 1996 Corolla with 220,000 miles” or “I wish I had that guy’s life, look at his boat, pretty girlfriend, nice house, six-figure salary, etc. All I have is this 2 bedroom apartment, a 4-figure monthly paycheck and pretty Facebook friends.” These are understandable thoughts when you play the comparison game, but when you’re content, these thoughts become void.

May we get to a point in life where we can be content with what we have. May we appreciate the value of our life and what God has provided already. May our eyes be opened to the “paper towel rolls” that are enough to make our lives enjoyable in order to appreciate the life we have.

Be content, so your soul can experience peace in troubling times.

QUESTION: Where do you find yourself being discontent in life and how can you shift your thought?

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