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Learning to be Content

March 08, 2021
By Doris Plummer

Recently I observed one of those moments in a store in which a frantic parent was trying to pacify a pleading child who seemed to have been told “no” to something.  The parent was instead offering an abundance of alternatives, all to which the child responded negatively, tears flowing, adding an abundance of screaming to increase the dramatic effect.  It made me think of our own staff and the great challenge they face in turning “I want” children into those who can be content, even when they don’t get their way.  Mrs. Sabia, Lower School Principal, commented, “I have had many conversations this year about things being hard.  This is a difficult time for many students.  But I tell them to look at what Jesus may be trying to teach us.  We can’t always get instant gratification.  God is teaching patience and perseverance.  Hard work and struggles are part of reaching your goals.”

Contentment does not come naturally.  Paul learned the secret through adversity.  His adverse situations included beatings, imprisonment, shipwrecks, danger, facing death, and many more (see II Corinthians 11:23-28 for a long list).  Yet Paul also tells the Philippians: “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.  I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.  I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” - Philippians 4:11-13 ESV

In our postmodern world, contentment often seems to be a lost art.  We want more and more in order to satisfy our desires.  But let’s not miss the opportunity to learn the  secret of contentment ourselves, so that we can pass it on to others… for unless we truly understand from personal experience, we cannot teach it to those who need to learn.

Minds: What are the things you think you need in order to be content?  Could you give them up?  What if they were taken away?  Could you truly find contentment without them?  What might Jesus be trying to teach you that will make you stronger and help you reach your goals?

Hearts: Is your heart ready to accept the challenge of finding contentment, no matter what circumstances come your way?  Pray that you will be open to learning this important life lesson.