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Devotional Archives

Contentment
(October 30, 2000)

      By Fern Horst

"But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.... follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called." (I Timothy 5:6-8, 11-12)

So often contentment eludes us as we live our lives from day to day. Our focus is often on such lofty thoughts as our heart's dreams for the future — a husband and wife, perhaps, and a family — or on the more mundane things of life like buying that new outfit we saw at the Mall, or upgrading our two-year-old computer system. Sometimes we get caught up in building up our own businesses or climbing the corporate ladder — making a name for ourselves and creating a nice padding for our bank account.

But inevitably focusing on any of these things brings discontentment. When Paul wrote to Timothy, a young man with all the hopes and dreams of any young man, he reminded him that if he has food to eat, and clothes to cover his body, that he should be content with that. But he writes this within the context of many other instructions for a young person who is committed first and foremost to serving God, and it is a letter that would be good for us to read often. Just a few sentences beyond the reminder to be content, Paul tells Timothy what things he should pursue in place of these earthly things: righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience and meekness — all part of "laying hold on eternal life".

Eternal life in the presence of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ -- therein lies all the fulfillment of our dreams and aspirations as human beings. Satan would have us believe that fulfillment lies in earthly things and relationships, such as making lots of money, getting married, and having that nice big home with the latest and most convenient furnishings. But reality is that we will take none of these things with us when we leave this earth for eternity. When we focus on what matters in our preparation for eternal life with the Lord, and in preparing those around us for eternity, it becomes much easier to be obedient in being content with what God has already provided us.

Most of us have many more earthly things than just enough food to eat and clothes to cover us, and yet it seems we often fight discontentment. No doubt this will be an ongoing battle throughout our lives, for it seems to be our enemy's primary ploy to get us off course as Christians. His very first "trick" was causing Eve to be discontent with all the wonderful things she had in the Garden of Eden, by getting her to focus on that one thing which she didn't have. If we don't recognize this ploy when he uses it on us, it becomes way too easy to go out and try to grasp what we think will bring us contentment and fulfillment, even though it is currently outside of God's will for us, just as Eve did, and of course have disastrous results, just as she did.

"Godliness with contentment is great gain." Great gain — for ourselves, for eternity, and most of all for our Lord and His Kingdom, of whom we are His soldiers:

"Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier." (II Timothy 2:3-4)

© 2000 Purposeful Singleness
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