Monday, February 27, 2006

Questions on Contentment

Jeremiah got me thinking about contentment but, like him, I have no answers so here are some questions:

Are we too much concerned with getting ahead of other people or do we need to be more content where we are in life?

Do we prefer the pursuit of happiness to happiness itself?

Why do people expect to be content in the future when they, for example, intern, work, have kids, get rid of the kids or anything else, if they are not content right now say in college?

If I think of this as a stage just to get to what I am really going to do or be, how am I ever going to be content?

Is it good to be discontent at times to push us forward? Or does real contentment not have to include stagnation?

Here are some verses from the Bible that shed some light on the issue:

Hebrews 13:5-6. . .
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." So we say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?"

Job 36:11-12. . .
If they obey and serve him, they will spend the rest of their days in prosperity and their years in contentment. But if they do not listen, they will perish by the sword and die without knowledge.

Proverbs 19:23-24. . .
The fear of the Lord leads to life: then one rests content, untouched by trouble. The sluggard buries his hand in the dish; he will not even bring it back to his mouth!

Philippians 4:10-14. . .
I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you have been concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for 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. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles.

1st Timothy 6:6-10. . .
But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

Ecclesiastes 4:7-12. . .
Again I saw something meaningless under the sun: There was a man all alone; he had neither son nor brother. There was no end to his toil, yet his eyes were not content with his wealth. "For whom am I toiling," he asked, "and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment?" This too is meaningless--a miserable business! Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can on keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.


At 6:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is a subject requiring much thought. The first step might be to (again) consult Mr. Stambaugh as to the original meaning of contentment in the Greek and Hebrew. Also it is interesting that many verses about contentment seem to be specifically about wealth. It this because it is the primary thing humans are discontent about? Or is there another reason?

At 8:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you.



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