Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Finding Contentment

We call bad one who rejects the fruit he is given for the fruit he is expecting or the fruit he was given last time.  - C.S. Lewis, “Perelandra”

David Niven (actor, 1910-1983) once said that, “Watching too much TV can triple our hunger for more possessions, while reducing our personal contentment by about 5 percent for every hour a day we watch.”  Given the average American watches 34 hours of television per week, this suggests that many people are experiencing an insane degree of discontentment. And how could they not, especially given the reality that advertising is geared toward eliciting a desire and transforming it into a fundamental need for, say, a faster sleeker car, furniture fit for a king, or the newest iteration of a smartphone.  

The reality of human nature tends toward an insatiable desire for what we do not possess. On one hand, our desires can certainly spur us on toward bettering our living conditions and ourselves. On the other, left unchecked and undisciplined, such desires can lead to frustration, then to discontent, and finally to full-blown envy. It doesn’t take much discernment to see that a majority of us have found our way to full-blown envy: a cancer eating away at our souls and destroying the peace and harmony of society.

Whereas St Paul lived in a contented state of being, whether in poverty or riches, being abased or abounding (Philippians 4), we generally prosperous Americans can’t seem to experience contentment for any longer than it takes to unwrap the box of our newest toy. But people who are not content with what blessings God has sent them will never be content with what they want but do not yet have.

And herein lies the key to contentment: trusting God.

Discontent is a leading indicator regarding our faith: it tells us that, whatever or whomever it is we are trusting for our wellbeing, it is not God. He knows what we truly need, where He is leading us, and what part we are to play in the theater of life.  Our contentment, then, lies in being grateful for all He has sent our way, which, by the way, keeps us free of greed.

We have all been born into a story written and directed by God. He knows exactly what is needed for each of us to play our part. It will do us no good to demand rewrites and a new director. Our job—our calling—is to play our part well, trusting that the All-wise and All-powerful Director knows what He is doing.

Copyright, Monte E Wilson, 2016

No comments:

Post a Comment