STUDIES IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we may boldly say: “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”
Have you ever stopped to think about what motivates you in life? What drives you to do what you do and say what you say and think what you think? Whatever your motivation is, I think it is safe to say that on some level, whether conscious or unconscious, there is one basic desire that motivates the majority of our decisions. What we all want more than anything else is the feeling of contentment.
Sadly, that feeling of contentment often eludes us, and there are a number of traps along the way that keep us from being content. Maybe it’s the trap of comparing ourselves to others. We can’t find contentment because someone else makes more money; someone else has a nicer house and nicer cars. We think to ourselves, “If only I had (fill in the blank), then I would be content.”
Maybe the trap we fall into is the trap of waiting for changes. We think once we get a better job, or once we get married, or once we have children, then we will be content.
Would we really be content?
But even if we had everything we could ever think we would want, would we really be content? King Solomon wrote, “Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, For my heart rejoiced in all my labor; And this was my reward from all my labor. Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done And on the labor in which I had toiled; And indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind. There was no profit under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 2:10-11) We probably couldn’t even imagine having all that King Solomon had, but it didn’t bring him contentment. It was merely a “grasping for the wind.”
Our text says, “be content with such things as you have.” Notice that God doesn’t say “become content,” and then leave it up to us to find contentment on our own. He says “be content.” Why? “For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’” If we are discontented, it’s because we are tempted to desire something apart from God, something greater than God.
God reminds us that He is the source of true contentment. We find contentment in His reassurance that even as we pursue our selfish wants, our God pursues us. Even as we pursue temporal things, God desires to give us spiritual blessings. Even as we want to satisfy our earthly appetites, all our God wants to do is remind us how our Lord Jesus satisfied God’s righteous demands by His holy life and satisfied God’s righteous wrath by His death for us on the cross. In the cross and the empty tomb, God has literally done everything it took to give us eternal salvation.
Now this same God promises that He will never leave us. He will never forsake us. We spend so much time looking for contentment in the wrong places. And yet, our loving God stands by our side and shows us where true contentment is found.
Robert Sauers is pastor of Luther Memorial Church in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, and a member of the CLC Board of Missions