Faith: Contentment


Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble ... for he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things. (Psalm 107:1-2 & 9)

The great theologian sang, “It’s not having what you want, it's wanting what you have” (Sheryl Crow). What do we want? What things do our eyes seek? Alternatively, when is enough enough?

The writer of Ecclesiastes waxes poetically, “Again, I saw vanity under the sun: one person who has no other, either son or brother, yet there is no end to all his toil, and his eyes are never satisfied with riches. ... He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity. (Eccl 4:7-8a & 5:10)

What does it mean to be satisfied?

I remember grade school in ISD #1, Aitkin Public Schools. The lunchtime discussion was lawn mowers and it was the one area where I had a distinct advantage. Other kids (in my memory, the jocks and the rich, whatever that means) were holding court. I held back. I had an ace. My dad owned the lawn and garden dealership in Aitkin for none other than John Deere. I mowed with 212s and 318s, 48- and 54-inch mower decks! Boom! Discussion over, I had the lunch table eating out of my green hand.


The crazy thing, I still exaggerated and said I mowed with a 60-inch deck, which was possible but not true.

Can we even be satisfied?

Angelica Schuyler in Hamilton would suggest it’s not possible. Paul in Philippians offers this rebuttal: “I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. 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 now 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.” (Phil 4:10-13)

What would be more surprising, if Paul wrote this passage in a time of peace and plenty or in a time of want? Often we can be quite philosophical about what we need when we have enough. But that is a luxury that has often eluded followers of Jesus, and yet the cause of Christ has continually moved forward through many empires and nations, pandemics and war.

Paul writing from prison, perhaps facing death, talks about contentment. He tells the church at Philippi, “My God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:19)

To modify Ms. Crow’s song title by one vowel, we need to “Soak up the Son.”

Contentment. Seek it.

John Just is with Timberwood Church in Nisswa.

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