Contentment is not something we learn ever so easily. As humans born into this world of materialism and consumerism, learning to be content is tougher than we think. When we rely on our own strength, the task seems daunting but with the help of Jesus, we can learn to be satisfied no matter what state we’re in in life.
When I was young, I loved looking at beautiful houses. I remember gasping at the beautiful homes shown in movies and TV shows—big rooms with comfortable furniture, prettily painted (or wall-papered) interiors and a collection of enviable appliances. I could spend an entire afternoon just browsing through Homes and Gardens magazines as it showcased fine architecture and richly landscaped lawns. I promised myself that I would one day live in my own big dream house.
As I entered adulthood, I was introduced to paying bills, taxes and keeping a budget. Practicality and priorities kicked in. To own a big beautiful house meant that I needed a big lot. If you live in a central business district like Makati, you would know that real estate costs are high. There are definitely lots with friendlier prices but these are located away from the business districts. If you’re working and have to deal with Metro Manila traffic every single day, then the idea of having to live far away might not be very appealing.
It was then that I thought: “Will I cease to exist if I don’t have the dream house I want?”
Having a bigger house also meant bigger taxes and tougher maintenance. And then I looked at my present situation: I have a roof above my head, the area is secure, we have easy access to just about everything—transportation, nearby malls and grocery stores, security patrol, amusement and church. WHY DID I WANT A GRANDER HOUSE AGAIN?
If we pause and think of all the Lord has given us, we will never run out of things to be grateful for. Often, we fall into the trap of counting what our neighbours have and comparing it to what we own. The spirit of discontentment then surfaces.
While there is nothing wrong with desiring a better quality of life, we have to exercise counting our blessings, being grateful and thinking of how the Lord has been good to us.
Does contentment only apply to what we own and have? We must also learn to be content in circumstances/situations we are in. Say for example, your other friends are enrolled in exclusive schools, while your school tuition fee cannot even cover half a semester in their universities. Instead of comparing and being envious, think of the fact that you are still enrolled and studying while there are other people who would do all that they can just to get an education. Thank God that you are able to go to school.
How about the classic example of exercising contentment in one’s civil status, particularly if you’re SINGLE? A lot of individuals I meet think that not being in a relationship is a curse and that getting a boyfriend/girlfriend will solve all of their life problems. Then they speed towards marriage, thinking their life would be complete when that happens only to be surprised when the reality of married life dawns on them. I have nothing against marriage. It is created by God, it is beautiful. What makes it complicated is when people rush into it, just because they are not content where the Lord has placed them. The Lord allows circumstances into our lives for a reason. He lets some of us be single for a time or for life, not because He is punishing or tripping on us. Look at it this way—the season of being single is a gift from God and we are to be content if that’s where He has put us at the moment. Time is something that you can never regain. If you choose to be content with your circumstances and make the most out of it, then you will realize that there is nothing lacking especially if you have Jesus.
What does it mean to be content?
To be grateful for what we have and to appreciate where we are in.