In a group text several years ago, my nephew asked an interesting question. “Where would y’all choose to be if you could be in three places at once (with one being work) and what would you be doing in said locales?” I knew my sister wanted to be at the beach. She loves having sand between her toes.
My first thought, “wherever Ryan (my son) is”, seemed too mushy, so I held back on that. Instead, I answered, “at home and at home.” I love being at home and don’t mind if a thousand people drop by, as long as I’m in my happy place.
My niece’s answer was good, too. “Watching my kids doing whatever they are doing”.
Our conversation prompted me to ponder contentment, that beautiful state of being satisfied and at peace with what you have and where you are.
The sin of discontent
John the Baptizer addressed this issue when soldiers in the crowd asked how they could “bring forth fruit in keeping with righteousness.” His answer was simple. ”Don’t steal, don’t lie, and be content.” (Luke 4:14) Contentment is an action you choose, not a state you wander into by happenstance.
Discontentment and the desire for the newest “thing” are both inconvenient and hard on the pocketbook. Even worse, they’re sin and habits that can become a gateway for even worse sin.
Choosing contentment starts with a grateful heart. Remember that old song, “Count your many blessings, name them one by one”? We begin to choose contentment by recalling our blessings and expressing gratitude to God.
On occasion, I look at my kitchen countertops and think, “They need to be updated.” My Formica countertops are not trendy, cool, or in style. I know all that. They serve the purpose, though, and the only real reason to replace them is discontent. I’m not confident that reason will please God, so I decided to keep the Formica for now.
Counting my blessings
I’m stunned by all God has provided for me. I live in a veritable garden, awaken to a symphony of songbirds, and retire in the evening to the songs of the night. I’m blessed with food on my table and a roof over my head. My loved ones are healthy and safe. I serve in a ministry I truly love. God’s generosity knows no bounds. Complaints and discontentment would be crass and ungrateful to the One who’s lavished such blessings upon me.
What reason do I have for discontentment? None at all.
The next line in the “count your blessings” song goes like this: “And it will surprise you what The Lord has done.” It’s true. Let’s count our blessings until we’re totally astounded by all God has done.
And he said to them, “…be content with your wages.” (Luke 3:14 NASB)
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