You know when you’re around it.
You know when someone has it.
And Man O Man, you know how much you want it.
‘Contentment . . . you’re really bringing that up NOW? You are not really going there, are you?’ Yeah Buddy, you know I am. I fear that discouragement and continuing anxiety and sometimes fear, comparison and unforgiveness too, have robbed us of contentment.
Consider Psalm 23 again. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.1
David, the king, has chosen to be a sheep.
David knew a lot about the habits of sheep and how terribly needy they were because he had been a shepherd. He had kept his flock from falling into ravines, had led them to much-needed water, protected them from parasites and defended them from predators. He knew what it was to properly care for his father’s sheep; accordingly, David knew the commitment and sacrifice to be a good shepherd.
About a thousand years after David came the promised One, Jesus. One day as he was teaching, he radically claimed “I am the good shepherd.”2 That Good Shepherd then laid down his life for his sheep, and I am one of them.
When I follow the lead of this Good Shepherd,
I am not in want,
and I have within me the choice to be content.
David said, The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want
Might it be said this way? Because the Lord is my Shepherd, I am content.
Contentment is always a choice. Consider the following statement: “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.”3 Paul wrote it from prison. I can never read it or quote it without being moved by it.
Desperately, I want to be able to say the same thing.
I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances . . .
Though there is great civic unrest,
Though there are millions unemployed and a greatly compromised economy
Though our household pay has been cut in half
Though I’m unsure what college will look like for my sons this year
Though Church is mostly virtual, and I desperately miss
worshipping corporately [found out that my soul needs that!]
Though there is no end in sight to Covid-19, and more--
I have learned the secret to being content. Contentment is a choice and it is learned.
Because the Lord is my Shepherd, I am content ~ yes, I have everything that I need.
Note: sometimes we need to remind ourselves about the difference between our needs and wants, right?
He holds my fate in his capable hands, and he is trustworthy, so I have no need to worry or try to control things; control is an illusion anyway!
He knows the exact number of my days4--ain’t nothing gonna’ cut ‘em short.
The Good Shepherd will both lead and guide me in the ways I should go, and in my decisions too because when I lack wisdom, I will ask and he will give it to me.5
And the troubles we are facing now? They are nothing compared to joy of Glory!6 So let’s be present, counting our blessings, thanking God for each of his graces to us. Funny thing, I have noticed that when I am intentional about being thankful, contentment is a natural byproduct. Yes, contentment is possible, but you gotta learn to grab ahold of it, trusting and thanking God. Choose well.
I want contentment,
1 - Psalm 23.1
2 - John 10.14
3 - Philippians 4.11b-12
4 - Psalm 139.16
5 - James 1.5