I have had the joy of working with John some as he prepared for the lesson he will be presenting today. His passion regarding the topic matter is clearly evident and with good reason, for it deals with something that seems elusive at times; that is, contentment. On one occasion during His ministry, Jesus warned His followers, “Be careful and guard against all kinds of greed. A person does not get life from the many things he owns” (Luke 12:15, ETRV). Simply put, the pursuit of “things” can become distracting to a Christian’s walk and never provide what is needed to understand true contentment. One of the essential keys to authentic contentment is the ability to be thankful, especially during times of difficulty, when life and circumstances don’t seem to give reason for it.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication,
with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and
the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard
your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Someone once said, “We would worry less if we praised more. Thanksgiving is the enemy of discontent and dissatisfaction.” John will mention today the need for gratefulness (i.e., being thankful) and how important it is to our everyday lives. The writer of Hebrews exhorts us with this simple logic, “be content with such things as you have” (Hebrews 13:5). As Christians, we should express that thankfulness through prayer; in part, because it helps cultivate the peace of God within us, which itself is linked to contentment.
As I close this article, I reflect for a moment on this thought, “Real contentment must come from within. You and I cannot change or control the world around us, but we can change and control the world within us” (Author Unknown). When we allow God to transform our minds, focusing on the truths found in His word and the fulfilled promises we have as His children, contentment becomes simpler. It is only when I begin to take my eyes off Him and what He has done and continues to do for me, that once again, contentment becomes elusive. Are you content today? If not, maybe the road back begins with being thankful. I know it is something I need to do.