Now that it’s summer everyone is asking, “Are you going to travel?” Maybe you’ve saved some money and vacation time and are looking forward to getting away. I’m perfectly content not to travel or take a vacation unless it gets too hot here in South Texas. Then I may load up the dog and hit the road. I never had a big travel bug, but maybe you do and delight in seeing new places or visiting old haunts, family, or friends. Perhaps you also, like me, find yourself learning more about your preferences and motivations through our meditations on the blessings of contentment. We have yet another avenue to “travel on this road”—our contentment as God’s stewards. Employers, management, and business owners expect their employees to earn the right to handle company finances, personnel, and projects. Nannies, chefs, contractors, and others have to earn their positions through their trustworthiness, reputations, skills, and responsible work ethics. However, God gives us stewardship, as his representatives, from the beginning. “And God blessed them. And God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.'” (Genesis 1:28) Then, when we are reborn in Christ, we are given satisfaction from him rather than earning it. The more we learn about and apply biblical stewardship lessons, the more content we become. The more content we are, the more blessed we and others are by our stewardship. As we mature in our stewardship, we get to the point of equanimity with our circumstances and provisions—a real blessing in a turbulent world. I chose the word “equanimity” because it mirrors biblical contentment, to the extent that a worldly benefit can imitate what only God can give. The online dictionary defines equanimity as “a state of psychological stability and composure which is undisturbed by experience of or exposure to emotions, pain, or other phenomena that may cause others to lose the balance of their mind.” Our justified position with Christ and comfort from the Holy Spirit impact our whole persons—our minds, emotions, attitudes, hearts, motivations, and reactions—for what the world might call “psychological” equilibrium—an inferior but desirable condition related to contentment. We can achieve greater contentment by appreciating and enjoying the gift of blessed, satisfied stewardship from God.
God’s Wealthy Blessings
“The world, living for the present, will desire the newer, shinier, bigger, better, more convenient, faster, more enjoyable, more luxurious, and tastier. God offers His children the opportunity to step off the treadmill and rest in Him. ‘Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect’ (Rom 12:2). Contentment’s primary source is found in God’s perspective on wealth. Knowing what God prizes, as expressed in His word, is a tremendous encouragement to His children as they find themselves in the world, but not of the world. According to the Bible, a number of things are of greater value than gold, i.e., material riches. These treasures include: The souls of people (Matt. 16:26); righteousness (Prov. 16:8); wisdom and understanding (Prov. 16:16); a good name (Prov. 22:1); the law of the Lord (Ps. 19:9-10); integrity (Prov. 19:1); an excellent wife (Prov. 31:10); children (Ps. 127:3, 5); knowing Christ (Phil. 3:7-9); and knowing God (Jer. 9:23-24)…God sees material wealth as a means of advancing His purposes, and on many occasions a lack of material wealth may give rise to and even deepen the qualities that matter most. Some of God’s people may possess wealth, while others may not. In either case, a spirit of contentment delivers God’s people from a preoccupation with wealth.” (1) Not only does spiritual satisfaction rescue us from materialism and consumerism, but it alone is without trials or trouble. “The blessing of the Lord makes rich, and he adds no sorrow with it.” (Proverbs 10:22) Believers are stewards of God’s rich, spiritual blessings, which come without guilt, regrets, or grief. We are content when we appreciate and enjoy our blessed, equanimous stewardship through Christ. “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 4:10-11)
Content in All Circumstances
Agur prayed, “Two things I ask of you; deny them not to me before I die: Remove far from me falsehood and lying; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, lest I be full and deny you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God.” (Prov. 30:7-9) “Agur wisely prayed for a middle state, that he might be kept at a distance from temptations; he asked daily bread suited to his station, his family, and his real good. There is a remarkable similarity between this prayer and several clauses of the Lord’s prayer. If we are removed from vanity and lies; if we are interested in the pardoning love of Christ, and have him for our portion; if we walk with God, then we shall have all we can ask or think, as to spiritual things…we may be sure that our heavenly Father will supply all our need, and not suffer us to want anything good for us; and why should we wish for more?” (2) “Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith!” (Luke 12:27-28) In Proverbs 30:7-9, “Agur deprecates both [wealth and poverty], as having their separate, peculiar, snares and temptations…[so he prays] feed me with food convenient for me; not merely what was agreeable to his palate, suitable to his constitution, and sufficient for nature; nor for him personally, but for his family also; and what was proper and suitable to the condition and circumstances in which he was, and to the rank and quality he held, whether in a more private or in a more public capacity…It seems to be the same which Job calls his ‘necessary food’, and Christ ‘our daily bread:’ it takes in both food and raiment, which having, men should be contented with… desirous he might not be exposed to temptations to evils which so affected the honour and glory of God.” (3)As we embrace God’s rich, spiritual blessings, we find that guilt, regrets, or grief that would otherwise ensnare us is lessened, and we are his blessed, contented stewards.
God’s Good Creation and Provisions
“All that God created is good. On the other hand, the things of this world do not satisfy our deepest longings. Human beings were created to be in a relationship with God. The human soul or spirit longs for this, even when the knowledge of God is suppressed (Rom. 1:21–23). But…the water of the salty sea cannot quench the thirsty man. So also, the material world that surrounds us cannot satisfy the soul’s longing for the ultimate and eternal. The human being, created in the image of God, thirsts for the transcendent…Jesus calls the thirsty to come to him and drink (John 7:37). The one who comes to him will not hunger, the one who believes in him will never thirst (John 6:35).” (4) As God spoke to Israel, he tells us: “The Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him…He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry. As soon as he hears it, he answers you. And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.'” (Isaiah 30:18-21) “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?…No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. (Romans 8:35, 37) We conquer the world’s temptations through our blessed contentment from God.
Related Scripture: Genesis 24:34-36; 26:12-15; Deuteronomy 8:11-18; 32:1-39; Job 23:12; Psalm 24:1; Proverbs 10:4, 15; Hosea 2:8; Matthew 6:11; Galatians 6:6-10.
- MacArthur, John. Think Biblically! (Trade Paper), p. 311, Crossway, Kindle Edition.
- Henry, Matthew, Matthew Henry’s Complete Commentary on the Bible, Proverbs 30:7-9, https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mhm/proverbs-30.html
- Gill, John, John Gill’s Exposition on the Whole Bible, Proverbs 30: 30:7-9, https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/proverbs-30.html
- Barcley, William, The Secret of Contentment, Pp. 162-3 , Kindle Edition, P & R Publishing, 2010.
May 26, 2022