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The Blessedness of Contentment

Date: 
Sunday, 12 November 2017

One of the cardinal sins of man is his lust for more. Despite living in a palace with beautiful gardens, King Ahab of Israel was unhappy as long as he could not have Naboth’s vineyard (1 Kings 21). Likewise, Prophet Nathan exposed David’s sin by telling him the story of how a man with many sheep took away the only sheep of a poor man. Hearing the story, David became angry, not realising he was that man. Despite having many wives and concubines, he took the wife of Uriah. Yet this is a familiar story that plays itself over and over in our own lives. It all started with Adam, our first father. He lived in a perfect world that God made. But he wanted more.

Yet the One who made us reminds us that “one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (Luke 12:15). Neither does one’s happiness.

Therefore, Hebrews 13:5 tells us, “Keep your life free from the love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you'." We cannot serve God and money.

Yet contentment is hard to practice. Jeremiah Burroughs, the Puritan pastor, called it a rare jewel. A soul contented in God will sing with the Psalmist, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want.” To such a man, money, fame, power, status, and all the earthly goods pale in comparison with the promises in Hebrews 13:5. These words, “For he has said” alone are enough. They will sustain him in the day of trouble, and settle every anxiety of his heart.

Furthermore, he knows he deserves nothing, yet God has given him everything. All may forsake him, including his family, his friends, his wealth and his health, but God will not. “Though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea. . . . There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, . . . God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved” (Psalm 46:2-5).

It is as Lee Tzu shared last week, in his classic book Knowing God, J.I. Parker said that those who truly know God will have great energy for God, great thoughts about God, boldness for Him, and contentment in Him.

The only thing such a person will never be contented with in this life is the poor state of his own soul. He wants more of God, and will not rest content till he can sit at the feet of Jesus, to learn from his beloved Saviour, and commune with his blessed Lord. And he wants others also to know this Saviour.