C is for “Contentment”

This is an entry in the “Acrostic Contemplations.”

Rather than the love of money, it is perhaps the lack of contentment, the ability to be satisfied with what one has, that is the root of most evils. Why else do we yearn for more money than because we are unsatisfied with our current circumstances? We want more, better, or simply different and in the world, whether of Solomon’s, Paul’s, or our own day, it is money that can change life circumstances. It is useless to pretend otherwise. It is equally useless to pretend that money will bring contentment.

In this letter, Paul is responding with gratitude to reports that the church Philippi is concerned for his well being, but he also makes an important point about being content; it is learned. Very few of us are naturally content, satisfied at all times in all circumstances. It is only by living through good and bad times that we can realize that our happiness and satisfaction does not have to be dependent upon how much we have. We may have a lot or a little and still be content. Similarly, we can also be discontent, even in the midst of plenty.

Like all learning, however, it comes not only through experience but reflection as well. Consider the level of satisfaction you felt when you were comfortable, when you were lacking in something. Our satisfaction should not come from the things we have, but in our confidence that God will provide what we need. “And my God will fully satisfy every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:19)

Contentment is not an excuse for complacency, however. God provides for the needs of others through the gifts that we are able to provide.

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