Meditations by John Dean

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

A Life of Contentment

(1Timothy 6:8 KJV)  And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.

Living a contented life is a matter of choice and not a matter of circumstances. Circumstances have nothing to do with one’s contentment …contentment comes from the way one looks at their circumstances. The apostle Paul said, “…in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content”. (Philippians 4:11) 

When one is not content with only food and clothing then they are not likely to be content when they have more. The fact is, contentment or the lack thereof reveals one’s spiritual condition and therefore it becomes a mirror of the heart.

Being content does not mean that one is lazy or unproductive but quite the opposite. When one is content they are actually capable of producing more with less effort. It has been proven that happy contented people are healthier and less accident prone and more productive than those who are discontented and unhappy.

Contented people are also more likely to be forward thinkers which means they are prone to be more creative. Their creativity could lead them to become a writer, a singer, a musician, or a thousand other wonderful things.

Just think…all of this started with being content with food and clothing.

A few years ago I had just finished speaking at a conference in the interior of the Philippines and was driving back to Manila. On the way back I saw something that changed my life forever.

While I was waiting at a stop sign preparing to turn left onto another highway I noticed several shacks on the opposite side of the road. However, there was one particular shack that really caught my attention. It, like others, was constructed with a few pieces of corrugated tin nailed to some boards. It did not have windows but it did have a handmade front door that was standing wide open.

Sitting on the outside next to that front door was a little Filipino mother who had the greatest look of contentment and peace on her face that one could have imagined. On the opposite side of the front door she had planted a beautiful little flower. There was no grass or trees or anything else in her tiny front yard…only a little flower.

My first thought was, “How can she be so content with so little?” When I looked across the road the only thing I could see was a shack…but she saw a home. I saw an ugly front yard…she saw a garden. I felt pity for her…but she appeared contented.

At that point I suddenly realized that true contentment is not the result of possessions…it is much deeper than that. That day at the stop sign, God used a little Filipino mother to teach me that true contentment is the result of living deeper in the true love of God. I am not sure how she did it but somehow this little mother from the Philippines had learned the art of being content in all things.

That little lady will never know the influence she had on me that day while I was at the stop sign. Lord help me to also live in such a way that strangers will see the contentment in my life.


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