The wealth of contentment

Ich habe genug.  Bach’s cantata by this title says in Recitative B:

“I have enough.  My comfort is this alone, that Jesus might be mine and I His own. . . Ah!  Were only my departure here, with joy I would say, world, to you:  I have enough.”

Central in accepting that we have enough is in trusting that God is good, that He loves us, and that He knows what’s best for us.  We often cannot distinguish between our wants and our needs.  He is not confused by that.

Eve offers a negative example to us in Eden.  She buys the lie of Satan — that God is really not good, that He is actually hold back from her something that is truly desirable and good, and that, for selfish reasons, He does not want her to know all that He knows.  In the desert, despite being miraculously provided with water, manna, and quail (and clothes that would not wear out), Israel grumbled about not having more.

We’re the same way.  We think that we need more sex, more attention, a lake house like our neighbors have, a promotion at work, more money, or more exotic travel.

The wise writer of Ecclesiastes says, “All that my eyes desired I did not refuse them.  I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, for my heart was pleased because of all my labor and this was my reward for all my labor.  Thus I considered all my activities which my hands had done and the labor which I had exerted, and behold all was vanity and striving after wind and there was no profit under the sun.”            Ecclesiastes 2:10-11

The apostle Paul offers wise advice:

poor but contentNot that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.  I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.  I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”                                                              Philippians 4:11-13

.girl chillin', looking over cityBut godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content. But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”                   1 Timothy 6:6-10

Lord, protect me from the damaging snare of always wanting more than You give me, as though I know best.  Help me to trust You, thanking You with a grateful heart for providing generously all that You want me to have — acknowledging that this is all that I need.

 

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