May 1, 2013~Ephesians #26 in series
Contentment and Poetry. Ephesians 2.10
CONTENTMENT is a gift, most would agree, but what does it have to do with poetry? Hmmm…
Who is the most contented person you know? I hope it is you! Would you say that you are contented? Is your heart at peace? Does your countenance reflect contentment? Do you think you could be content? Since I’m confident that all of us would love to be, let’s think about it . . .
Ah…… contentment . . .
It is a gift like no other~
~will erase lines from your face and make you look younger ~cannot be purchased ~cannot be taken away
It will make you a pleasure to be around ~help you feel ‘settled’ inside ~give you a good attitude ~enable you to be at peace …even if the world seems to be falling apart
…even if your body fails you, or is in great pain …will make complaining a thing of the past …and when you have it, it will be accompanied by a heart that is thankful and glad and a soul that is assured.
My mother was the role model of contentment. She grew up in a very poor family, born in 1916, the second oldest of 11 children, often living in a tent in the Midwest because her father had gambled away his paycheck. Mom was married to my dad for almost 62 years, but never had a wedding ring, never went on a honeymoon; instead, she was married at the courthouse at noon, and went to work packing asparagus in a cannery at 3:00 pm. She wasn’t educated by the world’s standards, not even having completed high school—but she was so wise. And… she was a study in contentment.
The dictionary defines contentment as ‘satisfaction’. But the Greek word used to describe contentment in the Bible doesn’t just mean to be satisfied, or to have sufficient, but to have an ATTITUDE that allows us to be satisfied with whatever is available. I remember being deeply impressed with Paul’s disposition, and his ability to be content, even when he was shackled, in pain, and in prison: “…I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”1
Paul passionately pursued God, and lived on purpose; his priorities kept him focused. And then, when he was physically and mentally tortured, he knew, ‘My God will supply all my needs, according to his riches in Christ Jesus.2 Paul knew the source of all good things, and trusted him.
Contentment is for the ‘now’ — You see, it is not uncommon for us to think, ‘I’ll be happy when….’ ‘Everything will be better when….’ ‘If only….’ ‘If I could get this….’ ‘or be….’ THEN I’d be happy. Not so. Contentment is not found in possessions, accomplishments, or station in life. Those are ‘icing on the cake’, but they are certainly not the pathway to inner joy. Experiencing contentment usually involves the elevation of our thinking, evaluating our life purpose, (a passionate pursuit of God), and establishing accompanying priorities, for as Paul later wrote, ‘Godliness with contentment is great gain.’3
So, in my last briefing, (Poetry in motion),4 I made the case that you are God’s masterpiece … his handiwork … and he is mighty proud of you. After all, he created you in his image!5 In closing, I asked: How are you doing with God’s purpose for you, his poema? Everyone wants to know he has a purpose, a reason for being … some unique destiny that is his alone to claim, explore and realize. Notice the connection between these two verses: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.6 And, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” You, Mr. or Mrs. Masterpiece, are meant to be fulfilling God’s unique plans for you—plans that will fill your life with meaning and satisfaction … you are meant to be poetry in motion.
Contentment may be yours ~ do you want it? It surely will be linked to knowing and living out your purpose.
1) Philippians 4.11-12
2) Philippians 4.13
3) 1 Timothy 6.6
5) Genesis 1.27
5) Jeremiah 29.11