What does it mean to be content? The dictionary defines it as, "being contented or satisfied or accepting one's situation or life with equanamity and satisfaction". Synonyms are "satisfied, happy and joyous". For me contentment used to be when I had all of my family together, or after a nice meal and a nap, or generally any time when my life wasn't particularly stressful. Contentment in my life centered around good health and good things.
After a recent mission trip to Belize I really had to evaluate and study this word content, because God's idea of content and mine were two different things. I had to start asking myself, "Am I really content with my life"? I live in a country that is not content with anything. We want the newest, biggest, fastest, shiniest, next best thing. When what we possess or wear is considered out of date by our society we get rid of it and get something "newer or better". Unfortunately, we take this approach with everything in our life and I am as guilty of that as anyone.
Americans are the opposite of content. As a society we are overwhelmingly discontent. We zealously pursue earthly things only to find that when we reach our goal it offers no long term satisfaction. So we pursue the next thing, and the next thing, and we chase after these mirages of happiness only to find that the cycle of discontent continues to repeat itself.
We chase after the next greatest exercise program, diet fad or health care product guaranteed to add years to our lives. It's the world of biggie size, super size, no interest, 90 days same as cash. We work long hours to chase the promotion that we believe will change our life.....and then it doesn't. See the point? We are discontent and we live in a world that throws a million things at us telling us that what we have isn't big enough, new enough or good enough to make us happy.
I have wanted to go on a mission trip for several years and was blessed recently with the opportunity to go to Belize. I thought I was going on this trip so I could help people. After all isn't that what God calls us to do; to serve and love our neighbors? This is true, but God also knows what we need as well and He knows exactly how to deliver the goods. The team I was with did some wonderful things to help others, but the people we came in contact with helped me more than they will ever know. To say this was a life changing trip for me is a huge understatement.
In Belize, there is an open love for Jesus Christ that is much less obvious in the States. There are two things we don't publicly talk much about in America; God and politics. If you choose to talk about them you can be sure a debate will follow. In Belize they talked openly about God, and we saw signs promoting Jesus Christ many times. This led me to ask myself why at times I can be so reluctant to profess my own faith. Matthew 10:32-33 reads, "Whoever acknowledges me before others , I will acknowledge you before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven". We are not called lead a quiet life with a quiet faith. We can't hide our light under a bushel! We are called to be bold and profess Jesus Christ before men!
Extreme poverty was apparent in Belize too, but even though a little more money would make their daily lives easier, the people were content with what they had. They found their joy in Christ and their family units. They didn't find it in the possessions that we accumulate. Their daily life was not consumed with running kids all over the place to do all the extracurricular activities that American kids are involved in today. Their priority list was God, family, education, and then all the other stuff. This is the order that all Christians need to have, yet we mess the order up so easily when we get focused on worldly things.
Being content with our lives depends on where we have God on our list. Accumulating more stuff will not lead to contentment. Serving Him with what He gives us is our call. Whether we have a little or a lot, we can serve Christ! The people of Belize opened my eyes to that. There are no more excuses for why I cannot serve Jesus Christ wholeheartedly. Being content with our life comes through a sincere relationship with Jesus. Matthew 6:20 reads, "But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal." I challenge you to take a look at your own life. If you are ahead of me on this journey of faith, God bless you! I will look to you for encouragement. If you are struggling with taking this next step of service and submission to our Savior please know that I am right there pushing upstream with you. We serve a risen Christ! Let's be content and serve Him together!