By Brandon Lemons
This is the time of year when we typically have a short sermon series featuring a Thanksgiving-related theme. This year’s theme is contentment.
While contentment is not identical to gratitude, they are closely related. Contentment forms a strong foundation for gratitude. In fact, gratitude is most joyous and free and full when it is paired with contentment. Otherwise, gratitude sounds more like “I’m thankful, but…”
“I’m thankful for the stuff I have, but I wish I had that one more thing.”
“I’m thankful for my job, but that other job would be nice to have.
“I’m thankful for our house, but those new houses across town sure are nice!”
There is always going to be something out there that seems a little better, a little newer, a little more fun. As they say, “the grass is always greener on the other side.” This mentality kills gratitude.
How do we get off the roller coaster of “needing” just a little more and instead learn to be content? This is an important question, because as the apostle Paul said in 1 Timothy 6:6, “Godliness with contentment is great gain.” How do we gain contentment, especially in a world that is geared to make us discontent?
A great starting point is recognizing that contentment is a skill that can be learned. It’s not something people are born with. A child’s natural instinct is to be discontent – to want what someone else has or what is being advertised, rather than being satisfied with what she already has. And contentment doesn’t naturally grow on its own. Instead, contentment can be learned. This is why the apostle Paul could say in Philippians 4:11, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 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.” This is a remarkable statement! Notice Paul’s verbiage: “I have learned…” He says this twice! Contentment is something we can learn!
I encourage you to join us in person or online for this three-week series from November 14-28, called “Learning Contentment.”