Growing up, one of the values that was deeply ingrained in us was contentment. My mother taught us to be satisfied with what we had and never compare it with that of the next person.
Being the last child who was born when others had borne the brunt of growing up in a low-class African home, I had very little to worry about because, others had paid the price and I came at a good time.
Not like we lived in luxury, but I enjoyed a certain level of comfort and my siblings would always call me “nwa apa-apa” a short form for an expression that meant a child that is neatly tucked onto the back of her mother who is trekking on a long, rough path while the child sleeps carefreely not knowing that the journey is far and tedious.
One day, I read where Paul talked about how he had learned to be content and self-sufficient through Christ, satisfied to the point where he was not disturbed or uneasy regardless of his circumstances… Wow! (Phil 4:11 AMP, Paraphrased).
That was when I began to wonder if the ‘contentment’ I had could pass the test of both abounding and abasing.
Unlike me, Paul was satisfied to a point where he was not disturbed or uneasy in any circumstances whether good or bad.
This reminds me of a fictitious story my Mother once told me of man who prayed for riches and miraculously found a bag filled with money in his room. He was so happy that he couldn’t sleep, he held it close to his chest for the night at the expense of his wife and even carried it wherever he went.
Eventually, the bag of money caused recurrent quarrels between him and his wife as they couldn’t come to a consensus on what to do with it. Soon, his once peaceful home turned into a boxing ring.
After a few weeks, they both conceded to throwing the bag of money over the fence and returned to their quiet, peaceful life.
You see, contentment works both ways- if you can’t handle lack, you’ll find it hard to handle plenty and the only reason you think you need more is because you haven’t learned to be content with what you have now.
So many times in life we pride in being content just because we are comfortable and have never had to be in lack. We enjoy a level of comfort that if God shifts one bit, we race off to Redemption camp or Shiloh and march a spiritual protest, banging on Heaven’s gate for a change.
What if you were in that situation where you literarily lacked something? I know this sounds anti-faith but let’s not lie to ourselves, it doesn’t mean you don’t have faith when you go through tough times.
The first thing faith does for you is teach you contentment and gratitude. I strongly believe that as young people, there are lessons to learn in every phase of life God brings us into.
So let me ask you: Are you content simply because you are comfortable or are you content because like Paul, you have learned both to abase and to abound as long as it brings God glory?
Will you still be calm and undisturbed when God shifts you away from your comfort zone for a season or will you begin to throw tantrums?
What if things didn’t go the way you planned and you have to wait for something God promised and earnestly pray for it?
What if it pleases the Lord that you go through a season where you don’t have what you think you should have yet? Would you still be happy and satisfied or would you begin to grumble and harass Him?
God deals with us differently, never forget that! But he expects us to be grateful for whatever season we are in and learn to be happy with little as with much, and with much as with little.
A man that is content is neither puffed up with much nor bitter with little.
Don’t let the world define contentment for you, there is only one way to define it and it’s clearly spelt out in the word of God…Sounds old-fashioned but nothing can be truer. God is more interested in forming the image of Christ in you than filling your life with stuffs.
Don’t be like a child who is only happy when he has lots of toys and cries when they are taken away. Grow up!
Whatever season you are in right now, whether you are just comfortable or overflowing, be content.
I can’t promise a magical change in your status, but I can assure you that whatever your status is now, God is with you right there and He’ll never abandon you.
Finally, a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things which he possesses. Never let anyone tell you otherwise!
Have a fruitful week!