An Encouragement for Contentment
“A contented spirit is like a watch. Though you carry it up and down with you, yet the spring of it is not shaken, nor the wheels out of order.” – Thomas Watson
Many heard the news weeks ago about a family on vacation at the Walt Disney World resort in Orlando, Florida. This family, who probably had enjoyment and rides on their minds, instead experienced tragedy as their toddler was snatched by an alligator. Fifteen hours later, the young boy’s body was found; he was dead.
One can only imagine what that family experienced. One moment they were having fun and probably planning what they would do tomorrow; only to be faced with the realization that there would be no more tomorrows for their child. As we ponder this tragic incident and others, one question comes to mind: How does one stay content during these types of trials?
How should one respond in the wake of the events of the past weeks? There are many emotions that come with great tragedies—fear, anger, and grief, to name a few. But is it possible to have an attitude of contentment? The answer is “Yes!” This is possible by turning to the One who is the source of peace and contentment—God, our creator. In His blueprint for living, the Holy Scriptures, we can find “A content person is one who trusts in a Sovereign God” (Phil. 4:10-12).
One Way Contentment
We live in a society marked by discontentment. Billboards, television ads, store displays, social media, etc., conspire to convince us that we need more “stuff” and are aimed at making us believe that we should acquire things we do not need. Seasons of life can also cause us to be restless and discontent. An example is someone consumed with getting married. The desire to get married is not a sin, however it can become sinful when it replaces God as the main focus of life.
God is in total and complete control of all aspects of our life and should never be displaced. When we become so enamored with what we think is best for our lives, we become discontent with where the Lord has us at the moment. But what is contentment, and how does one achieve it? The Apostle Paul provides us with an answer.
In Philippians 4:11-12, he writes, “Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstance I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.”
Dr. John MacArthur, in his commentary on Philippians further explains, “The word content was used to speak of being self-sufficient, having enough, or not being dependent on others.” For those of us who believe in Christ, we recognize that the only way this is attainable is to trust in Christ as Savior and Lord. Paul had learned that contentment is not something we naturally possess; it has to be learned. The only way to learn to be content is through a personal relationship with God through His Son.
Trust and Obey
What should we do when tragedy strikes? What should we do when we are left to wonder about our lives? Trust in the Lord. Trust in the One who causes all things to happen for the good of those who love Him (Rom. 8:28-29). Is it easy? By no means! Are life’s events difficult? Yes! Does that mean we sit idly by and ignore our surroundings? No! Our first inclination should be to pray and talk to the Lord.
We must learn from these events with our minds fixated on the important fact that this Earth is not our home. However, this is where our hope and dependency should lie. When there are good times, we are usually content. When there are bad times, we need to be content. We must depend upon the Lord. A content person recognizes that no matter what circumstances they face in life, there will be peace because they trust in Christ who watches over us.