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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Practicing Contentment

Relevant Ministry Blog Schedule:
Tuesday - "About Spiritual Health in Life and Ministry"

Thursday - "About Relevant Women"

by Pam Roth
Now, I’m not trying to be a Scrooge during this holiday season; however, I would love for you to take just a couple of minutes to look around you.  Take in all that is being provided for you in the area of your work, life, play and worship.  Now, ask yourself this question: What’s missing?


Are you already beginning to make a mental list of things that you want to make you happy? Are you Christmas shopping for others and buying for yourself at the same time?  Or are you thinking about people who need to change or a situation that needs to be different in order to make your surroundings feel more friendly or peaceful?
 

No doubt about it -- we live in a world of “more.”  More money, more time, more freedom, more space, more things…and the list goes on.  It’s the desire for just a “little more” to feel satisfied that keeps us on the road to discontentment.  Have you noticed that the “road to discontentment” is a dead-end street?  Once we get a “little more,” we seem satisfied for a brief moment and then the cycle begins again – we’re discontent until we find something else to feed that desire for more.

So, how do we live in a world of bigger, better and lots of it?  What is the key to living a life of contentment, and how do we get there?  Well, Richard Foster, in his book “Freedom of Simplicity,” encourages us to consider living a life of contentment by not accumulating more.  As easy as that may sound, keeping covetousness in check may be more difficult than you think.  Foster writes, “Contentment seems to always remain elusive.”

What does this elusive butterfly of contentment look like?  Let’s take a hint from the Apostle Paul.  He said, “I have learned, in whatever state I am, to be content” (Phil. 4:11).  Paul had experienced good times and hard times, but he was content no matter what his circumstances were.  Where did Paul find this sense of contentment?

Have you figured this mystery out?  True contentment does not necessarily come from acquiring the latest and greatest.  It does not come from the premise that I have “more than…,” or even from being overcommitted in volunteer service.  True contentment is found in a relationship with the Lord.  True contentment begins with a heart adjustment…an attitude of gratitude.

By practicing gratitude, we can have a different perspective on the things we possess, the relationships we’re in and the circumstances that surround us.  Those with a grateful heart are able to thank God for where they are and for where they are going.  And in return, God will bring joy and peace into their lives.

In no way have I arrived at overcoming the temptation to want something new or different; but I am learning to be content with what I have.  I am truly grateful for all that the Lord has done for me.                                  

Philippians 4:12, “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.”

Practicing contentment:

  • In an effort not to spend any money, don’t leave your house for a couple of days.  A friend once told me, “The minute you walk out of your house, you start spending money.”  What a powerfully true statement.  It takes money to put fuel in the car, eat out, and make purchases.
  • Make a list of the things you want.  Now, scrutinize your list by asking yourself this question: “Do I really need this?”  I have a friend who practices this by putting everything she wants into her shopping cart; but she never leaves the store without asking, “Do I really need this?” or “Could I get along without it?”  She told me that sometimes she ends up putting everything in her shopping cart back on the shelves.
  • Consider someone else’s needs by sharing your resources with them.  When you run across a “buy one-get one free” sale.  Buy one for yourself and give the other one away to someone who has a need. 
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For more about Relevant Women - RelevantMinistry.org/RelevantWomen


The purpose of Relevant Women:
Relevant Women exists to train women to minister relevantly, to discover and grow in God’s call in their lives and to serve in their churches as godly leaders.
 

RW accomplishes this by:
•Teaching life changing truth
•Building significant relationships
•Practicing spiritual disciplines
•Defining our personal stories
•Developing our personal ministry


At Relevant Ministry, our vision is to equip leaders to minister relevantly in churches that will be healthy and thriving.

Our mission, to fulfill this vision, is training future leaders - building healthy ministries - and serving on the Gulf Coast. 


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