Contentment

Donald Willis

Guardian of Truth XXIX: 7, p. 210

April 4, 1985

Contentment is one of the greatest possessions one may have. It is within itself a goal toward which one needs to strive. A truly contented person possesses a balance; the daily pressures and setbacks do not disconcert. One is able to go with the flow of daily activities realizing a Great Hand is directing; therefore, all is well!


One can learn contentment! God even commanded His people too be content. “. . . Be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me” (Heb. 13:5-6). An evidence of repentance, John the Baptist taught, was “…be content with your wages” (Lk. 3:14). Paul instructed, “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not high minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy…” (I Tim. 6:17). Trust God, He will never forsake!


Fulton J. Sheen, in his book, Way To Happiness, states four basic causes of discontentment. The principle cause is egotism or selfishness, which sets the self up as the primary plant around which everyone else must resolve. The second cause is envy, which makes us regard the possessions and talents of others as if they were stolen from us. The third cause is covetousness, or an inordinate desire to have more, in order to compensate for the emptiness of our heart. The fourth cause of discontentment is jealousy and hatred of those who have what we wish for ourselves.


One of the greatest mistakes is to think that contentment comes from something outside us rather than from a quality of the soul. Jesus, in the greatest of all sermons, the Sermon on the Mount, taught that happiness comes from character, and not from things! Anyone can learn that contentment is a human circumstance of life, if the heart is centered in God.

Trying to make a discontented person happy is like trying to fill a sieve with water. However much you pour into it, it runs out too rapidly for you to catch up. Trust in the Lord!

Use Your Bible!

This year we will have our “Use Your Bible” Question series in this part of our Bulletin. We will focus the questions each month on various aspects of the Christian’s responsibility when it comes to “serving” others.

Theme: Contentment


     1. What does the apostle say is great gain? (1 Tim. 6:6, 7)

     2. With what are we exhorted to be content? (Heb. 13:5; 1 Tim. 6:8)

     3. Concerning what does Christ tell us not to be anxious? (Matt. 6:31, 32)

     4. What evils befall those who are determined to be rich? (1 Tim. 6:9, 10)

     5. By what illustrations did Christ teach contentment? (Luke 12:24-28)

     6. What lesson in contentment did Paul say he had learned? (Phil. 4:11)

     7. What ancient promise should lead to contentment? (Gen. 8:22)

     8. Upon Whom should we cast all our cares? (1 Pet. 5:7)


Notes – “Contentment produces, in some measure, all those effects which the alchemist usually ascribes to what he calls the philosophe’s stone. If it does not bring riches, it does the same thing by banishing the desire for them. If it cannot remove the disquietudes arising from a man’s mind, body, or fortune, it makes him easy under them.” – Addison.


A contented mind sees something good in everything – fair weather in every wind, blessings in every storm.

“If we cannot get what we like, we should try to like what we get.” “There is no malady severe than habitual discontent.” – Fleming.


“If you cannot frame your circumstances in accordance with your wishes, frame your will in harmony with your circumstances.” – Epicletus.


“A contented mind is a continual feast.”

Godliness

Bobby Witherington

Guardian of Truth XLI: 18 p. 6-7

September 18, 1997

In a real sense “godliness” is “great gain” within itself. That this is true is indicated in 1 Timothy 4:8 wherein Paul said “godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.” “But what,” we ask, “is godliness?”

Godliness (Greek, eusebeia) “denotes that piety which, characterized by a Godward attitude, does that which is well-pleasing to him” (Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, by W.E. Vine). Other Scriptures penned by Paul which stress the necessity of godliness are 1 Timothy 2:2; 3:16; 4:7, 8; 6:3, 5, 6, 11; 2 Timothy 3:5; Titus 1:1.


Godliness is one of the “Christian graces” which a Christian must continually develop in his effort to make his “calling and election sure” (2 Pet. 1:5-10). Godliness and “holy con-duct” should characterize responsible people as they contemplate the ultimate dissolution of the created universe (2 Pet. 3:11). The truth we acknowledge “is according to godliness” (Tit. 1:1).

Godliness is basic to a proper relationship with God. This is the character quality which enables one to say “hallowed be thy Name” (Matt. 6:9) with meaning and true reverence. This is the attitude which prompts a feeling of dependence on God, an attitude of reverence toward God, and a willingness to submit to the instructions of God. The godly know that God is indeed “in His holy temple,” and they are disposed to “keep silence before Him” (Hab. 2: 20), always mindful of their smallness and his greatness.


The godly are so mindful of the awe-inspiring majesty of the Father of spirits (Heb. 12:9) that they dare not use God’s holy name as a byword, or make jokes about things sacred. Their feeling of awe in the greatness of him who is the “Almighty” (Gen. 17:1), and infinitely “holy” God (Isa. 6:3), make it unthinkable for them to joke about heaven or hell, or to question the wisdom and integrity of God on any issue.

When You Fail Forward

Matt. 26:74-75

“Then he began to curse and swear, saying, ‘I do not know the Man!’ Immediately a rooster crowed. And Peter remembered the word of Jesus who had said to him, ‘Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.’ So he went out and wept bitterly.”

Everybody fails, errs, and makes mistakes. You’ve heard the saying “To err is human, to forgive, divine.” Alexander Pope wrote that over 250 years ago. And he was only paraphrasing an ancient saying that was common during the time of the Romans. Notice these “Rules for Being Human.” Several of these describe well the state we’re in:


     Rule #1: You will learn lessons.

     Rule #2: There are no mistakes – only lessons.

     Rule #3: A lesson is repeated until it is learned.

     Rule #4: If you don’t learn the easy lessons, they get harder.

     Rule #5: You’ll know you’ve learned a lesson when your actions change.


You see, writer Norman Cousins was right when he said, “The essence of man is imperfection.” Failure is simply a price we pay to achieve success. If we learn to embrace that new definition of failure, then we are free to start moving ahead – and failing forward.


God holds the future in His hand,

O heart of mine, be still!

His love will plan the best for thee,

The best, or light or dark it be:

Then rest ye in His will.

God holds the future in His hand,

Why should I shrink or fear?

Through every dark and cloudy day –

Yea, all along my pilgrim way –

His love will bless and cheer,

God holds the future in His hand,

And I can trust His love.

The past declares His faithfulness;

His eye will guide, His heart will bless,

Till I am safe above.