True Contentment

“My brethren, the reason why you have not got contentment in the things of the world is not because you have not got enough of them.  That is not the reason.  But the reason is because they are not things proportionable to that immortal soul of yours that is capable of God himself.  Many men think that when they are troubled and have not got contentment, it is because they have but a little in the world, and if they had more then they would be content.  That is just as if a man were hungry, and to satisfy his craving stomach he should gape and hold open his mouth to take in the wind, and then should think that the reason why he is not satisfied is because he has not got enough of the wind.  No, the reason is because the thing is not suitable to a craving stomach.”

Jeremiah Burroughs, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment (Edinburgh, 1964), page 91.

“Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it” (Psalm 81:10).

(HT: Ray Ortlund)

Peter serves as a pastor-teacher, at home and abroad, resourcing gospel-centred communities.

One thought on “True Contentment

  1. I find writing verse forms an effective discipline and structured meditation (mentioned by puritans).
    Writing the Sunday sermons in verse certainly makes one listen and chew-over the content.
    My collection of verse includes James, and 1 John as poetry, and currently I’m working on 1 Peter.
    Here is a meditation on Contentment in preparation for a chuirch house group discussion:

    CONTENTMENT in our generation?

    ‘Peaceful happiness’ or ‘satisfaction’
    With just food and clothes?
    What, no self-improving action?
    What of a home, (never mind investment)?
    Children need toys as everyone knows.
    So what is ‘contentment’?

    With the TV ads, we are pressed to buy
    The latest iPod, or flat super screen
    Without pausing to question, ‘Just why?’.
    ‘Because you’re worth it’, we’re told
    ‘She must have it’, is to be seen.
    The ‘Market’ demands that it’s sold.

    But what did the writer actually mean
    When he talks about ‘Contentment’?
    In the Original ‘autarkia’ is to be seen:
    Independent of circumstance, ‘Self-sufficient’
    Helps us avoid guilt and resentment
    ‘Basic needs’ is the coefficient.

    The writer warns against covetousness,
    And false teachers who want ‘gain’.
    Our gain is for ‘godliness’.
    God gives good ‘gifts’ and provision,
    Not demanding asceticism’s pain.
    This ‘contentment’ should be our vision

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