Credit: Jordan Mark Stone

Be Content With What You Have! Blind Resignation?

One of the harder things in life is contentment. I often find myself thinking about all the things I wish were different. Have more money. Be a better person. Take more exciting vacations like I see others do. And so it goes.

A. W. Pink as quoted below cuts right to the heart of the matter. What he says is true. But does that mean we should just “settle” for where we are in all things? Is it possible to find contentment (to some degree) and also long for things to change? I think both are possible, and I propose how after the Pink quote.

By A. W. Pink

“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said: Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you!” Hebrews 13:5

God takes note of the discontent of our hearts, as well as the murmuring of our lips.

Not only is discontent a grievous sin against God, but it unfits the Christian for the discharge of holy duties, preventing the exercise of those graces which are necessary in order thereunto.

It silences the lips of supplication, for how can a murmurer pray?

It destroys the spirit of submission, for complaining is a fretting against the Lord.

It quenches faith, hope and love.

Discontent is the very essence of ingratitude, and therefore it stifles the voice of thanksgiving.

There cannot be any rest of soul, until we quietly resign our persons and portions to God’s good pleasure.

Discontent corrodes the strings of the heart, and therefore it arrests all growth in grace.

Discontent is usually over temporal matters, and this is a sad intimation that material things are sought after more eagerly than are spiritual things. It argues a lack of confidence in the care of our heavenly Father to provide for us the things which are needed.

“How long shall this wicked congregation grumble against Me? I have heard the grumblings of the people of Israel, which they grumble against Me!” Numbers 14:27

“Do all things without grumbling and complaining!” Philippians 2:14

Now Pink hits us hard with Scriptural truth. So must we resign ourselves to just smile and bear our circumstances? I don’t think so, though the answer rests in us resting in the Lord for finding the right balance.

Some years ago a preacher friend and mentor shared with me some wisdom from Philemon. The Apostle Paul is writing a letter from prison to his brother in Christ, Philemon. Philemon’s slave Onesimus has run away and Paul is sending him back. In the letter he’s asking Philemon to treat Onesimus, who has come to faith as well, as a brother rather than a slave.

Then comes the curious part. Paul says in verse 22, “At the same time also prepare me a lodging, for I hope that through your prayers I will be given to you.”

What? Paul is the poster guy for teaching us about contentment. And he’s hoping to get out? Here is Paul from several places in Scripture on contentment and accepting our situation:

And not only this, but we also celebrate in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Romans 5:3–5

Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer person is decaying, yet our inner person is being renewed day by day. For our momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16–18

Not that I speak from need, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with little, 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. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Nevertheless, you have done well to share with me in my difficulty. Philippians 4:11–13

So how is it possible for Paul to be stuck in prison and yet hope and believe that he will get out and go be with his friend?

Contentment doesn’t mean that we hang our heads and just resign ourselves to our situation. Contentment means understanding that God has us where we are and for a reason. For Paul it was his evangelistic ministry in prison as well as his letter writing to the churches to encourage them in the faith.

Yet, while he was content to be there, knowing it was God’s plan for him, he continued about God’s work, even while hoping in the prayers for his release.

Contentment so often seems like a unicorn. Can’t find it. But also likely is that we aren’t even looking. Complaining is much easier and seems to be my default. I must remind myself that God can help me “learn contentment” like he taught Paul.

For more on contentment, see HERE.

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Les Talk

Les Talk

I am a follower of Christ, changed from my old self, but not perfect by a long shot. Husband, father, grandfather. I’m thankful to be on God’s journey.