Contentment

“Therefore, having food and clothing, let us be content.” ( I Timothy 6:8 )

I suspect that there are many problems caused by our inability to be content.  We are constantly bombarded with the message that we need something more, or better. or simply different.  Yet, what do we actually need?  When my wife and I were first married, we had several discussions on the difference between “need” and “want” as I set up our budget.   Can we be happy if our needs are met, but not our wants?  Our true happiness comes from the presence of Christ in our lives; and our relationships with family and friends.  Sometimes we forget that, thinking that happiness will come from some new possession. We can make ourselves, and those around us quite miserable with this attitude and we can get ourselves into all kinds of financial trouble as well.  We need to remember what is important, and learn to be content.

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5 Responses to “Contentment”

  1. tjalexander Says:

    I find it interesting and very amusing really that yesterday your wife wrote about budgets and today you write on contentment and being happy with your needs being met. Hmmmm … Is it Great minds think alike? or …well, we shall just go with that. 🙂

  2. sybriggs Says:

    Is there a difference between happiness and contentment?

  3. cgirod Says:

    tjalexander: Being able to be content is an important part of being able to stay on a budget.

    sybriggs: I will address this question in a future blog.

  4. LisaB Says:

    Is it possible as humans to genuinely get to a point of never wanting? Contentment and wanting seem to be regarded as the same thing here, yet I’m not convince that they are. What is true contentment? I could ask the same question as sybriggs here too. It seems like never wanting, contentment, happiness, each are the kind of thing that may happen often but tends to be fleeting.

    I believe there are times when God uses discontentment too.

    I have heard some claim that it is their discontent that drives them toward improvement.

    I.E.: A person seeks to help a worthy cause. The person chooses to raise money for it and manages to raise a modest yet appreciated sum. The person may have achieved or even surpassed his/her set goal by the grace of God, but having achieved it and learned from the experience ways that sum could have been increased and other ways they are capable of helping out the cause they might view it as not being enough even though the cause or those involved in it may consider it to be quite generous already or above and beyond their hope and expectations from the person. The person could say “I’m content with what I’ve done” and leave it at that (in which case, technically, nobody is even considered to be at a loss, the person still could have the satisfaction of knowing they accomplished something and the cause is already better off for it) or the person could say “I’m not content with what I’ve got and done because I now know there is more that I can get and do and I can do better.” God may use that discontentment to encourage the person to try the extra measures or to do more from then out as opportunities arise thus benefiting the cause even further and possibly other causes as well.

    Budgets can be very good tools for attaining or maintaining the money that we use for whatever, but in my experience they only are as good as the discipline and honesty (and often memory) exercised in the formation and execution of the budget and then it still takes the grace of God to stay on it.

    Even with a budget that struggle to get to a point of contentment can seem nearly impossible like a fairytale sometimes, especially when one is already behind at the creation of the budget and when the budgets keep having to absorb one major expense after another unexpectedly which throws off all the numbers and wipes out any savings one may have scraped together (if there were any), pushing off even further any goals one had been hoping to work toward that they’re already so far behind on.
    Is it possible for one to be disappointed and contented at the same time?

    One may be very thankful for their blessings and very much aware that they are so very fortunate to have what blessings they do have, (especially when considering where they SHOULD be if it weren’t for the grace of God) but I don’t know many who who’ve managed to conquor the contentment challenge when they’re trying to be a good steward of the blessings they have already, even tithing as instructed and looking for opportunities to give more and yet despite their efforts they’re still in a position of feeling like a burden to others in some areas, and they are being pulled in various directions by the various demands of life and of those who are around them.

    One never seems to have enough hands, time, money, shoulders, skills, workspace, connections, faith, energy, strength, supplies, etc. to accomplish all that gets put before them. Granted some of those things may be put before them by proverbial squeaky wheels of sorts, but some squeaky wheels are mighty persistant to the point of testing one’s patience and resolve even though there may be something else entirely that God is calling a person to tend to. Finding that point of contentment can be especially difficult when some of those squeaky wheels are insisting that the person shouldn’t be content, implying they haven’t contributed enough to whatever yet or that they just don’t care enough about it when they ought to. I don’t know about others, but for me, it seems such accusations inevitably bring on the fight within oneself against one’s own flesh-based vanity and pride that they’re having to divert time and energy toward as well… makes one wonder if contentment isn’t more of a spiritual gift than a choice sometimes.

    Just because a person might not be content in the situation doesn’t mean they necessarily doubt God’s ability to provide or that they’ve no hope that He will. Kind of like when Jesus was struggling in His humanity with what He was facing in the Garden of Gesthemene (sp?) right before He was betrayed. His words and the description of His sorrow don’t exactly strike me as the description of the world’s most contented man, yet He obviously was accepting of what God’s will for Him was there hence “Not my will be done but thine”.

    If that truly was a moment of discontentment that Jesus was experiencing, how is it that we can expect to maintain a constant level of contentment in our lives if even God in the flesh had moments of struggling with it?

  5. cgirod Says:

    LisaB, Thank you for sharing your thoughts, I am going to respond to them in todays post “Defining Contentment”.

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