Contentment in Christ
By the Rev. Kathy Brumbaugh
Background text: 2 Corinthians 12:10
Devotional text: Ephesians 2:19-20
I have a wonderful family. Each year, when it is possible, we gather together for a family reunion. The COVID-19 crisis and the year of a flood have interrupted our gatherings in the past.
There were 12 siblings in my mother’s family, and it is her brothers and sisters and their offspring who come together. We’ve had as many as 75 of us bringing food to pass, playing the annual horseshoe tournament and other games. It’s a time to get together and catch up on our individual lives.
As the years have passed, most of the aunts and uncles have died; my mother as well. Today, it is the cousins and their families who do the set up for our gatherings. It is the next generation who keeps the gatherings going.
Last year, at our annual event, a number of my relatives were talking about contentment. One after another spoke about how they have found contentment in life. No longer striving for things, they are content in what they have, what they do and how they live. They have peace in their lives, and it’s a good feeling.
Their words got me thinking about the contentment we find as believers in Christ. Beginning with the words of Jesus found in Matthew 6:33, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.”
When we become seekers of Christ as our Savior, what we find is a new life, a life in which there is contentment in all things.
Let’s look at another verse, from 2 Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, that person becomes a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
Being a new creation brings us into the citizenship found in Ephesians 2:19-20: “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the connection.”
Furthermore, we learn in Romans 8:38-39 that, once we truly believe in Jesus, there is nothing in all creation that can separate us from him; not life nor death, angels nor rulers nor powers, not the present nor the future, not anything.
Knowing that even if someone tries to separate us from our heartfelt and committed belief, they will not succeed, brings us to the many scriptures that spell out our worth to God.
So now, we turn to some of these scriptures.
In Psalm 46:1, we find that “God is our refuge and our strength, a very present help in trouble.”
How do we know God helps us? Psalm 34:17-18 tells us, “When the righteous cry out, the Lord listens; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he saves those whose spirits are crushed.”
Here are some short scriptures on the saving grace of our God:
•1 Corinthians 10:13 — “When tempted, God provides a way of escape.”
•Ephesians 6:10 — “You can be strong in the Lord, with God’s strength.”
•2 Timothy 1:7 — “God does not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and self-control.”
As believers, our lives are certainly not perfect. We don’t always do the right things. We make mistakes. Sometimes we just feel weak and done-in by our circumstances.
The Apostle Paul spoke of his “thorn in the flesh” that was a constant bother to him in which he prayed for God to remove. There are a number of theories about his “thorn in the flesh,” but we don’t really know what it actually referred to.
However, we do have God’s reply to him: “He said, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Then Paul replied in verse 10, “For the sake of Christ then, I am content with weakness, insults, hardships, persecutions and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
You see, it is God who gives us strength in our weakness, who helps us to continue on and who takes our weaknesses and gives us strength.
The Apostle Paul continued in these verses found in Philippians 4:11-13: “Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.”
Paul spoke about having food and going in want, being humble and having wealth, having much or having little, concluding with, “I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me.”
Jesus himself has told us over and over again about our importance to God. In Luke 12:6-7, he said, “Aren’t two sparrows sold for two coins? Yet, not one of them is overlooked by God. Even the hairs on your head are all counted. Don’t be afraid. You are worth more than many sparrows.”
God, who loves us more than we can fathom, gives us his strength, his help in times of trouble. He brings to us contentment in our lives.
I leave you with this verse from 1 Timothy 6:6-12: “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that … ”