Pastor Andrew Vickery
What is Contentment?
10 I rejoined greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
What is contentment? It is a gift that God has given to us. When we don't accept it, we sin. We aren't happy with the way things are. If you've seen the Disney movie Moana, you know that Moana, the main character, isn't happy with the way things are. Just look at her song (and if you know it, sing it to yourself!):
"I've been staring at the edge of the water
'Long as I can remember, never really knowing why
I wish I could be the perfect daughter
But I come back to the water, no matter how hard I try
Every turn I take, every trail I track
Every path I make, every road leads back
To the place I know, where I cannot go, where I long to be"
She longs for the place she cannot go. That is not contentment. That's the sin that is the opposite of contentment. That's not being happy with your circumstances. But there is another way that we pervert that gift of contentment: by accepting it, but distorting it into our own image of contentment. We take it too far. We get so happy with the way things are that we become complacent and comfortable. That's kind of where Moana's village is living. They are so complacent with the way things have aways been, that they can't fathom leaving the island. They are so complacent that they don't even notice that the darkness is taking over their island. Consider this verse of their song:
"The island gives us what we need
And no one leaves
That's right, we stay
We're safe and we're well providede
And when we look to the future
There you are"
There's a balance to be found between contentment and complacency. We can't let ourselves become so content with the way things are that we fall into complacency. But we also must not have our eyes always on "the line where the sky meets the sea" -- always on the NEXT thing. In an effort to avoid complacency, we must not forget to remain content. But we also must "find happiness right where we are."