My wife Tammy and I don’t plan to move out of Illinois (though many are), and plan to stay in our home as long as we can. After reaching out to a number of firms, we settled on one to do our remodeling project. And, over a five-week period, they did a great job for us, remodeling our kitchen and bathrooms. We are extremely pleased with the work that has been done. But you know what? Now that I see the beautiful new kitchen and remodeled bathrooms, the rest of our home looks, well, like it needs some work – at least a fresh coat of paint. Is this a lack of contentment?
I can’t help it, but I always seem to see what is wrong with something. That’s just the way I’m wired. Just like in our home, in our yard, my focus will go to the tree or plant that isn’t doing well, rather than the many that look beautiful. When driving on our streets in town or the highways we travel, my eyes go to the potholes and repairs that need to be made as a result of our extreme winters. And just today, Tammy mentioned what a beautiful day it was. And I kid you not, the very next thing out of my mouth was that rain was coming and the temperatures tomorrow would be ten degrees colder. I just can’t help it.
That’s the way I was at work as well. In our organization, we would receive performance feedback from peers, team members and customers. Although I would receive many positive comments about my performance, I would always first go to the question “What can Bill do to improve his performance?” I would then completely forget about all of the positive comments and agonize over the few suggestions for improvement.
I’ve never considered myself to be a glass half-empty guy, but now I’m starting to wonder. Does this resonate with you? Perhaps you are similar to me in this area.
I know in my heart that Christ has given me the greatest gift that I could ever receive, the free gift of salvation. One of my favorite verses in the Bible is 2 Corinthians 5:21, which is a description of the Gospel: For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Think of it. Our salvation has nothing to do with what we have done, but it is all of Christ. In a Sunday sermon my pastor said that “Religion without the Gospel is absolute failure”. That is so true. Every other religion except Christianity is a works-oriented religion. People do works to try to earn God’s favor. But in Christianity, those that have trusted Christ, do good works and obey Him because of what He has already done – he has rested his favor upon us as his beloved children. If we can’t be content with what Christ has done for us, we will never find contentment.
The Bible has much to say about the subject of contentment. Here are 5 of my favorite verses about contentment:
“Therefore, I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” Matthew 6:25-26
“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.” Philippians 4:11-12
“Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’” Hebrews 13:5
“But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world.” 1 Timothy 6: 6-7
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12: 9-10
So, I’m going to try to stop always looking at what is wrong or broken, and focus on being content in what Christ has done for me. How about you?
This by the author of Anne of Green Gables:
There is a family nobody likes to meet,
They live, it is said, on Complaining Street.
In the city of Never-Are Satisfied,
The River of Discontent beside.
They growl at that, and they growl at this;
Whatever comes there is something amiss;
And whether their station be high or humble,
They are known by the name of Grumble.
The weather is always too hot or too cold,
Summer and winter alike they scold;
Nothing goes right with the folks you meet
Down on that gloomy Complaining Street.
They growl at the rain, and they growl at the sun;
In fact, their growling is never done.
And if everything pleased them, there isn’t a doubt
They’d growl that they’d nothing to grumble about!
And the worst thing is that if anyone stays
Among them too long he will learn their ways,
And before he dreams of the terrible jumble
He’s adopted into the family of Grumble.
So it were wisest to keep our feet
From wandering into Grumbling Street.
And never to growl whatever we do,
Lest we be mistaken for Grumblers too.
– By L. M. Montgomery