Ecclesiastes 5:19-20 NLT
And it is a good thing to receive wealth from God and the good health to enjoy it. To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life—this is indeed a gift from God. God keeps such people so busy enjoying life that they take no time to brood over the past.
Contentment truly is a gift from God.
Sometimes I forget how much the Lord blesses me. Sometimes I’m distracted by the blessings of others and I wonder to myself as I eat my Ramen noodle lunches and my salad dinners, is that something that I want? Sometimes when I’m driving the old van with no air conditioning on a hot day because one of our vehicles is in the shop, I wonder to myself aren’t there things that I want? And then I talk to my friend Norman, who lives in a lean to shanty near the soup kitchen downtown and I realize how very silly I have been. Then I see news of Christians giving their very lives as they are slaughtered by murderous people, and my ungrateful attitude towards my own life makes me sick in the very pit off my stomach.
You see, sometimes the ways of the enemy are so subtle as to just try to shift our perspective away from a sense of grattitude – and at the moment that happens, my ability to praise God is affected, my testimony is stumbled by whatever stone has been laid in front of my path. Temptation has all kinds of shiny things to wave in front of us to get our minds of of what we have and churn up desires within our hearts. And the desires of our hearts are revealed with each temptation.
But I am discovering the road to contentment, and it truly comes in a surrendered life. If I trust that the Lord has given me exactly what I need today to fulfill my purpose, then don’t I also trust that He is not burdening me with distractions that might take my eyes off of praising Him? Isn’t the very reason that we are created to bring Him honor and praise? I’m learning that it comes down to trust, to faith. And He knows better than I the areas where I need instruction and discipline in my life, because He knows what lies ahead.
I have lived through seasons where the honey flowed and I drove nice vehicles, lived in nice neighborhoods, spent money on parties and expensive foods – and I have lived through seasons of meager and humble means. In most cases, I have made decisions and choices that shaped my circumstances. In all cases, I am learning to be content and to trust God.
And when we trust God, the anxiety slips away. We are less distracted by the temptations to look and compare our lives outrank to others, because who can know the true state of a person’s heart by only seeing their possessions and their outward appearances. Many more people are owned by their possessions, are slaves to the lender, have created idols of their possessions, or look to their wealth and prosperity as their security instead of trusting in God. So we should be thankful that God has us right where He needs us to be for our own sake.
Lord, as you can trust me to manage your blessings effectively and wisely, I trust that you will provide everything that is needed to fulfill my purpose of glorifying you and bringing honor to your name. Don’t let me get distracted by what I have more or less than others, and don’t let me bee ungrateful and untrusting towards you. Remind me of what I deserve if it were not for your grace, and keep me on this narrow path. Let me know contentment no matter what things or circumstances surround me in my life.