Whatever Happened to Contentment

But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world.  But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.  --1 Timothy 6:6-8 ESV

I can't stand it anymore!  I really can't!

My Facebook feed and news feed
is filled with discontentment and hatred.  We hate the president.  We hate each other.  We hate ourselves (especially if we happen to be born white, male and happen to be a Christian).

It's like we aren't happy unless we have something or someone to hate or be upset about.

Every word that offends becomes another reason for us to be unhappy about an injustice that exists in the world.  We weren't called by the right name.  We heard an opinion that was different than our own.

We loathe the wealthy while secretly wishing we had what they had (I mean, isn't that what equality is all about?).  We hate the church because it is full of hypocrites or it doesn't entertain us or it doesn't have the right program for us or our kids or our dogs...or whatever.  We despise the previous generations who were so morally backwards that they left us with this mess.

We take our righteous indignation to Facebook or Twitter or Snapchat or any of a billion other social media platforms from our $500 smartphones or $1000 laptops and complain.  And our complaints garner the response we want...attention from likeminded others, while cutting out all dissenting voices.  

The Bible says that "godliness with contentment is great gain".  We should be happy with nothing more than God in our lives, food in our bellies and clothes on our backs.

But we aren't.  It's why all of the young adults are hoping for free college education.  It is why older adults complain concerning their meager wages (I've done it too!) or lack of advancement or lack of vacation time or lack of...well, you get the picture.

We have become a thankless people.  We forget that Jesus asked us to pray for "our daily bread".  Almost all of us complaining haven't had to do without squat!  Even during the tight times, we have had bread on the table, clothes on our back and a roof over our heads.  We don't thank God for that anymore.  We complain that we don't have more although God gave us His Son.  Yet, our complaints testify against us that His Son wasn't enough.

This discontentment is just a cover for covetousness.  The rest of the context of the verses above says this:

But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.  For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils.  It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.  --1 Timothy 6:9-11 ESV

Isn't this what you see on social media and in the news or online...every...single...day?  For goodness sake, we have just spent 3 days talking about how soon the president should have tweeted out something after complaining that he tweets too much.  And now that he has commented, we complain that it was too late or that there aren't more than one side inciting violence.  Are we insane?

This isn't an apologetic of the president's actions (or inactions), its an inditement on ours.

What would make us happy?  Have we ever asked ourselves that question?  What?

That people would be nice to each other.  That people could all have their fair share.  That everyone could have what they wanted and be left alone.

And do you not realize that forcing someone to do those things is merely you trying to play God instead of entrusting these situations to God and being content with Him yourself despite your circumstances?

We are told that this isn't our home, yet we expect this sin soaked world to resemble it (Col. 3:1-4).  We were told by Jesus that in this world we would have trouble, but not to fear because He has overcome this world (John 16:33).  He told us that the world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God will live forever (1 John 2:17).

When did we stop praying for those in authority as 1 Tim. 2 says?  When did we stop being thankful for the blessings of life and health and prosperity (food, clothes and shelter) that we have?  When did we forget that man doesn't live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God (Deut. 8:4)?

When did Jesus stop being enough for the people called by His name?  And just as important, when did we forget, that Jesus and only Jesus is the answer to the true problem facing this world?

As the people of God, we have got to become more and more convinced of this reality.  If we don't have Jesus, we truly have nothing to offer a hurting world in need (They can come up with all the other answers without our help).  But until we truly believe it, Jesus will not be enough to satisfy.

I am learning this lesson anew in the midst of a society that finds no joy in anything but what they hate.  I am learning to be thankful for what has been graciously given to me by Christ (though I deserve none of it) and am learning to love Him better.  And I am finding...that it is enough...and always has been.  I pray you find that joy too.

But as for you, O man of God, flee these things.  Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.  Fight the good fight of the faith.  Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.  I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in His testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which He will display at the proper time--He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see.  To Him be honor and eternal dominion.  Amen.  --1 Tim. 6:11-16 ESV

   

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