We are now a week into the December issue of Tabletalk, which means it is time to introduce it. Following the season of Thanksgiving here in the U.S., the current issue is fittingly devoted to the theme of “Contentment.” And a fine issue it is, with many profitable articles on this subject, as well as under the other usual rubrics.
Editor Burk Parsons introduces this subject with an excellent editorial titled “Desiring Contentment.” This is part of what he has to say:
But now we look through a glass darkly as we eagerly await the glorious dwelling places Christ is preparing for us in the new heavens and new earth where righteousness dwells (2 Peter 3:13). Although we will always long for heaven, God calls us to be content in whatever situation we find ourselves by His sovereign providence (Phil.4:11). He calls us to keep our lives free from the love of money and to be content with what we have. God not only tells us to be content but also graciously gives us the reason to be content by reminding us of His promise: “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Heb. 13:5). This is the foundation for true and lasting contentment. It is precisely because the Lord is our Shepherd that we shall not want. But if He is not your Shepherd, expect no contentment. True contentment is not circumstantial, it is relational. It is not based on what happens to us; rather, it is based on who has taken hold of us—the One who dwells within us. If our contentment is based merely on what we have, we will always desire more, but when it is based on who we are in Christ, we will first and foremost desire to know Him more. For if we are to find contentment in all things, we must seek contentment in the only One who can fulfill all our desires—Jesus Christ.
The first main article on this theme is by pastor Tim Challies, and is the one linked below. In it he addresses a very common “flu” found in our affluent American culture – “affluenza.” You may have heard of it, and probably have been afflicted with it, if with me you share a fallen nature. I believe you will find his thoughts on this perceptive and penetrating (to the soul!).
Here are a few of those thoughts; find the complete article at the Ligonier link below:
Affluenza is a spiritual disease that is ravaging the modern world. It is similar to every other disease in that we can accurately diagnose it by its telltale symptoms.
Ironically, the most common symptom of affluenza is discontentment. Many of us have discovered that as our wealth and our possessions multiply, so too does our discontentment. There is an inverse relationship between how much we have and how much we are convinced we need to be content. Just think about Adam and Eve. They had the whole world before them. The whole world, that is, but for one little tree that God had decreed would be off limits. And somehow they determined that they could not possibly be content unless they had the fruit from that tree. And like Adam and Eve, we can have great abundance and still feel empty. We can have great abundance while still feeling the gnawing discontent that we do not have more. Just one more dollar, just one more gadget, just one more vacation, just one more upgrade—joy is always that close, but that far away. If you suffer from affluenza, you will know it when you look at all you have and still believe that just a little bit more will nally bring the joy you crave.