Saturday, 25 April 2015


You choose your ship. If you choose the MV More you will sail life's journey through the Siren sounding Sea of Discontent. If you choose the HMS Content you will be sailing through the Sea of Satisfaction. One of first differences you'll notice if you change ships mid-voyage is that the HMS Content doesn't have many of the same trappings that the MV More has - but it does have bigger windows. Through these windows passengers can see the wonders and beauty that those on the MV More sail blithely past.
But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.First Timothy 6:6-8 
The most dangerous person in the world is usually considered to be the desperate person. It's hard to argue with this. But I wonder if we have underestimated the content person? This person is motivated by noble causes - causes that benefit others. They can't be bought. They can't be bribed. They can't be deterred. The enticements of this world are not what motivates them. This kind of person can be dangerously good. On the other hand, the person is discontent because they entertain coveting is far less dangerous. This is because they can be easily enticed, lured, ensnared. This means that they can be easily controlled. To want is not a bad thing. But it can be. Two of the Ten Commandments are directed against its dark side. The first forbids stealing, the second commands against coveting(Deut. 5). This is striking considering that murder gets one prohibitive command and coveting gets two. Coveting is wanting what is not yours to have. It is eternally perilous to the human soul. Jesus lists it among the deadliest sins-
For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person."Mark 7:21-23 
The content person is a thankful person. I suspect that thankfulness is the means to achieving contentment. Thankfulness helps the content person to rest. This restfulness is a position despite the circumstances. The content person is positioned to think, I am thankful for what I have. If I have only this, I am thankful for it. If I achieve no more than what I have done, I am at rest. This week, in the Bible Study Group meeting that I lead, one of our African members said wistfully,"If African young people from my country had the opportunities that Tasmanian young people are ignoring they would transform not only their lives but the entire nation!" This highlights the irony of discontentedness: Even what a discontent person has, they don't appreciate or even use. I would love to see the world, but there are still parts of my own State, that despite living here for the past twenty years I have not yet discovered. As a pastor I would like to see our church grow and become bigger with expanded facilities and exquisitely landscaped gardens and sealed carpark - but I am deeply grateful for what God has already given us (both people and facilities). I am becoming content.
But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.
First Timothy 6:9
Are you grateful? "Count your blessings. Name them one by one. Count your blessings. See what God has done!" Johnson Oatman Jr wrote.
Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the Cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, everydoubt will fly,
And you will keep singing as the days go by.

When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;
Count your many blessings - money cannot buy
Your reward in heaven, nor your home on high. 
COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS, Johnson Oatman Jr., 1897
Francis of Assissi who forsook his family's fortune to serve Christ among the poor of Italy, was once asked by a fellow monk, "What would you do if you knew your life was going to end in a few moments?" Francis is reported to have answered, "I would finish weeding this vegetable garden." Francis had learned the art of contentment. What many people see as mundane and perhaps pointless, Francis viewed as sacred. Contentment has spiritual implications. Things that are seemingless insignificant, when done by the spiritually content, become acts of worship. Jesus gives this principle in Matthew 25.
Then he will answer them, saying, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.'Matthew 25:45
When you weed your garden, attend your child's Parent-Teacher night, hand out Communion, or serve someone a cup of coffee, and you do it gladly, thankfully, you are learning the art of contentment. And in this world where most people are sailing on the Merchant Vessel More, your passage on His Majesty's Content will cause people to realise there is another way to sail life's ocean.
Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.
Philippians 4:11
Ps. Andrew

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