I think everyone struggles to be truly content. Whether in possessions, circumstances, relationships, or something else, we all answer like Rockefeller when he was asked how much money is enough: “just a little bit more.” Contentment is a battle for everyone.
I recently preached on contentment, and I had three resources that were of great help to me. The following books are often missed by Christians, and I hope you’ll take note of these. Jeremiah Burrough’s The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment (Amazon), William Barcley’s The Secret of Contentment (Amazon), and Thomas Watson’s The Art of Divine Contentment (Amazon paperback, CCEL, PDF) are all masterful treatments of a subject that many modern Christians are deficient in.
For example, Watson practically addresses several enemies that would threaten to steal our contentment. We all face circumstances in life that make it that much harder to practice godly contentment, and Watson lists some of these and then goes on to address these from Scripture:
I have lost a child:
- It was my only child
- I have a great part of my estate melted away
It is sad with me in my relations:
- My child is in rebellion
- My husband takes ill courses
- My friends have dealt very unkindly with me
- I am under great reproaches
- I have not esteem from men
- I meet with great sufferings for the sake of the truth
- The wicked prosper
The evils of the times:
- The times are full of heresy
- The impiety of the times
- The lowness of my parts and gifts
- The troubles of the church
- My sins disquiet and discontent me
Burroughs gives this helpful reminder that, no matter what kind of business or task you might have, doing it with a God-centered view will ensure contentment regardless of the outcome: “Be sure of your call to every business you go about. Though it is the least business, be sure of your call to it; then, whatever you meet with, you may quiet your heart with this: I know I am where God would have me. Nothing in the world will quiet the heart so much as this: when I meet with any cross, I know I am where God would have me, in my place and calling; I am about the work that God has set me.”
And last, though certainly not least, I was greatly helped by these godly women – Jen Wilkin, Nancy Guthrie, and Melissa Kruger – discussing contentment for TGC. I pray their discussion helps you also.