Are the concepts of contentment and satisfaction, ideas that deserve our attention today?
The definitions were once considered a positive trait in our society but we are no longer content or satisfied with just the basics of food, clothing and shelter.
But we have upgraded to a lifestyle that many of us can no longer afford. In our society we are able to have desires for us and our families, but if and when we achieve them are we really content with these achievements?
An illustration I see so often on home search television programs is that families are no longer content with a basic house. They are not interested in one where they don’t like the wall color, the appliances are not a matching set, the floor coverings are not what they prefer, and the countertops are not constructed of the natural or manmade materials they need to have to be happy. All of these decorative preferences can be changed with paint, different appliances, various floor coverings and a countertop of different materials.
If and when we find perfection are we any more content?
Can we be really content living with upgrades we may be unable to afford or should our contentment be in living at peace with the basics as we serve our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ?
If our contentment is based on Jesus, then we will free up more money for missions. We can also help to the needy in the United States as well as around the world. We can enable people to have clean water, shelter, schools,
health care and clothing.
I know that it is hard to be content when you have no job, may have no place to live and you can’t buy a week’s groceries for your family. Economic times are hard right now, but even when we worry and fret we cannot, by ourselves, change these circumstances.
By being more content in Jesus, we can have a clearer mind to look for solutions, study our Bibles and experience quiet time with prayer.
We are blessed in our area to have the seven-day-a-week feeding programs and food banks. We have access to services that do require the ability to stay focused, follow the requirements and follow through with the programs. Drugs, alcohol, overeatering and other issues have free support groups and meetings locally. These should add to our contentment with our current circumstances and open doors for help and assistance as well.
Contentment is not just for when we have money, a nice car and a fancy roof over our heads but we need to contemplate the many countries with a population that has none of these things but visit their churches and feel the praise and the music and the love. They are content because they have a church building, benches or chairs, and they are focused on spreading the gospel message throughout their country.
This is why these ideas are still meaningful today. Less stress and mental problems are a clear benefit for us. The apostle Paul in his letter to the Philippians writes: “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.” (ESV)
Satisfaction and contentment are not just abstract ideas but are a way of life that is based on our belief in Jesus and the peace which he brings to our hearts in every situation. May we ask for and find this peace and contentment in our lives through faith in Jesus as our Lord and Savior.
The Rev. Jim Hanson
in an independently ordained minister.