Navigation #6

Finding Contentment

Responding to a “pew to pulpit” question:

This was not a question but a statement.

How “little” can be so much when you are happy.

How can we find happiness? It beings with contentment.

“Your way of life should be free from the love of money, and you should be content with what you have.” (Hebrews 13:5 CEB).

That’s a clear call to contentment.

Then in Psalm 37 we are repeatedly encouraged to

“not get upset over evildoers, and to not be jealous….[we need to] trust in the Lord and do good; [to] enjoy the Lord….[to not] get upset when someone gets ahead—someone who invents evil schemes.” (CEB)

We are implored to

“Let go of anger and leave rage behind! [And to] not get upset— [as it will] only lead to evil.” (CEB)

Lastly, but certainly not least, verse 16 of Psalm 37 reminds us that:

“Better is the little that the righteous have than the overabundant wealth of the wicked.” (CEB)

Isn’t that the truth?

How ‘little’ can be so much when you are happy.Any and all business, ministry, vocation or job should be done with the highest of ethics and moral standards. What good does it do to know that someone made a living or a fortune off of taking advantage of someone else? How good can you feel at the end of the day knowing that your “blessings” or good fortune came at the expense of someone else’s well-being, or that sought to step on them to get ahead?

We cannot get to the top on the back of someone else. It’s fine if we reach the top, but we have to go about it the right way, and we have to be content if we cannot quite make it up there either.

We also should not replace being content with complacency. We cannot make it an excuse for laziness, or for lacking drive, goals or sense of identity or purpose.

Being content does not mean we give up trying to do better, forego growth or circumvent challenges. It means we skip the judgment, the comparisons and the feeling of inadequacy or self-loathing. Deep down we have to realize that each of us is special and unique in our own way. We all have our gifts and our talents.

The key is to tap into those talents, to realize them and use them on a daily basis. In doing so, we can build a great deal of confidence and eventually find contentment with what we have, whether it is a lot or a little in life.

So what’s the secret to contentment? How do we go about finding it in a practical sense? How can we mentally arrive at a place where we find contentment? How do we shed our love of money and get to a point where we are, in fact, content with what we have?

Apparently, some extensive scientific research has been conducted in this realm, to see what exactly it would take to help one find more happiness and contentment in their life and it seems the primary ingredient in happiness and finding contentment is compassion.

As humans, contentment (and compassion) is key, but for Christians, it is especially paramount. We think of the statement from the book of Hebrews, to: “be content with what [we] have.” We think of the words that Christ often spoke, and how God encourages us not to compare ourselves to others and tells us we should build our own confidence and realize that all of us are God’s beloved children.

Yet, we often fall into the comparison trap. We look at our neighbor and notice that their car goes a little bit faster than ours, so we get a little envious. We speak highly of others, yet not as much for ourselves. We suffer from envy and jealousy.

What we should do instead is seek contentment—and that begins with building up a more compassionate mind and heart.

In doing so, we will improve not only the lives of others but also our own. We can begin to be more confident in our own skin. We can make the world a better place. And we can find contentment in what we have, where we live, and with who we are.

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