I love contentment. It's such a lovely, peaceful.... contented word. Being contented means being happy and at peace with your world. It's one of the chief goals of my life.
The Bible talks about the concept of contentment a handful of times, each one a little different, and yet each one supporting that same basic idea.
Luke 3:14 talks about contentment in regards to money ~ "be content with your wages".
1 Timothy 6:8 says, "having food and clothing, with these we shall be content".
Both of those verses speak to material things. That is generally the most difficult part of having contentment, is in our things, and in what we earn to acquire things. Whether we are comparing what we have to what others have, or to what we wish we had, contentment is often just one desire away.
In Philippians 4:11 is a wonderful verse that connects contentment with all circumstances ~ "Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content." Love that. That is my goal. Paul goes on to say, "I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need." Yes, I want very much to be able to say that I am content whether full or hungry, whether in need or in plenty.
But recently, I made a new connection in my mind on the topic of contentment. It comes from the book of Hebrews, which means we don't really know for sure who said it. Of course, I acknowledge that every word in the Bible was authored by the Holy Spirit, but He worked through different writers, and scholars disagree on who the writer of the book of Hebrews was. And in my mind, it's almost better that I'm not sure who said it. That way, I can attribute it entirely to Jesus Christ, as I'm reminded of His greatest gift to us.
The verse is Hebrews 13:5, and it reads, "Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have." So far, so good. It seems to read like the others, about material things. But then it continues, "For He Himself has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you."
The writer of Hebrews is quoting Deuteronomy 31:6 here. God's words, to the Hebrews, through Moses. But at the same time, in my mind, I am brought back to the scene of Jesus on the cross.
Jesus had very little to say on the cross. There were no long discourses; the time for those was gone. His statements from the cross were direct: "Woman, behold your son."... "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."
And His words were painful. I think the closest Jesus ever came to a complaint, was John 19:28 ~ "I thirst." To be honest, I don't think that it really was a complaint; just a statement of fact, but it is painful for me to read. It's difficult not just because I have experienced thirst, and know the desire to have that quenched; but because it is a statement of His helplessness. It is the most basic human need, and He was incapable of satisfying it for Himself. By His own choice.
The other statement from the cross that is so painful to read, is in Matthew and Mark. "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" It is, again, a statement of fact. Jesus, was becoming sin for the whole world, and in doing so, He had become separated from His Father in heaven. But this cry from Jesus is in anguish. He was going through it to prevent us from having to. And the pain that it was causing Him makes me so grateful that I will never have to be separated from God.
Deuteronomy 31:6 is a promise. And Hebrews 13:5 is a reminder. He will never leave me, nor forsake me. Knowing that should be enough for contentment for me, no matter what my material circumstances are.
~ "my God shall supply all your need
according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus" ~