Contentment is easier said than done. It is what everyone of us longs for – to be at peace from within and be filled with joy in our inner beings. To also be filled with genuine love and care for others in what they have accomplished, who they are, what they stand for.
But if we are honest, at times we find ourselves filled with jealousy for what others have or are “getting.” Research shows that 9 out of 10 office workers suffer from “professional envy” of colleagues they perceive to have more glamorous or better paid jobs.
And this doesn’t stop in the workplace. The same jealousy finds its way into friendships and families and just about every part of our lives. “Must be nice they get to go on that trip,” “I wish I had what they have,” “how great would it be to have those kids or those kinds of grandkids.” As many ways as we are different equals the ways we can envy other people and their perceived lives.
King Solomon speaks of envy and pride and the drive to outdo others in the book of Ecclesiastes. “Then I saw that all toil and all skill in work come from a man’s envy of his neighbor. This also is vanity and a striving after wind. The fool folds his hands and eats his own flesh. Better is a handful of quietness than two hands full of toil and a striving after wind.”
Part of living in a broken world is that we fall into this kind of sin almost naturally. We have to fight against it. J.I. Packer notes that envy is dangerous because it’s fed by pride, “the taproot of our fallen nature.”
Let’s instead take heed of the great counsel Solomon gives us in Proverbs:
“Better is a little with the fear of the LORD
than great treasure and trouble with it.” Proverbs 15:16
“Better is a little with righteousness
than great revenues with injustice.” Proverbs 16:8
It all starts with an attitude of gratitude. Being thankful for all that we DO have – and not just the tangible stuff. We need to spend time submerging ourselves in the scriptures that tell us who we truly are – from our Creator’s perspective. Our longing should be for wholeness and filling in our relationship with God – the God who loves us – who provides for us. Who is the only true source of joy and Whose presence is peace.
In Philippians 4: 12-13, Paul teaches on contentment. “For I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
May we find contentment – true contentment – in our relationship with the one true God, who alone can fill that restless and bring true shalom.
By KC DiNardo