TITLE: Being Content
By Lauren Beyenhof
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But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. --1st Timothy 6:6-9 (NIV)
I'll be honest; I was a late bloomer. Although I certainly held the upper hand when it came to educational pursuits, the deck appeared to be stacked against me when I compared myself to my peers. I wish I had realized then that comparison is the basis for feelings of inferiority. Those feelings, coupled with a strong competitive nature, often set the stage for disaster. I am thankful that my parents constantly encouraged me to be myself and helped me develop interests that were uniquely mine. Without that positive influence, I would have certainly become a very shallow and discontented person.
When we constantly compare ourselves to others, we are essentially telling God that we don't think the blessings he has given us are enough. Though sometimes not in so many words, we tell him "if you really loved me, you would have made me more attractive or given me a higher paying job." There are times we go so far as to tell God that he screwed up when he made us. The fact of the matter is that God makes us all different for a reason, and he wants us to be content with the person that we are.
Finding contentment may be difficult for some people, but think about it this way. When we express contentment, we are giving God a compliment. Let me give you a non-spiritual example: Preparing dinner for my husband is something that I enjoy, and it is also something that I take seriously. When he sits back after the meal, smiles at me and says "that tasted good, thank you," I interpret his contentedness as a compliment. I don't need him to use flowery language and tell me "the meat was cooked to perfection, the seasonings were savory and the vegetables were a pleasing blend of flavors and textures." (Although I'm sure it's what he's thinking!) I like just knowing that he is happy and content.
In a similar way, I think God enjoys providing for us and he takes it seriously. I also think that he likes, and deserves, to know when we are content. He provides each of us with a variety of abilities and talents. Each of us has a unique personality, and a style that is all our own. When we compare ourselves to others, we are comparing apples to oranges. We will never find contentment if we base it on how we stack up to others. True contentment lies in knowing that no matter what our circumstance or situation, we are loved by a gracious and providing God. When we solidify our identities as a child of God and recognize how we can use our unique blessings and talents to glorify him, we find contentment.
Copyright © 2005 Lauren Grace Beyenhof. All Rights Reserved.
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