I have noticed it in my own heart, maybe you have too. There is an occasional sense of discontent, a flash of disgruntlement. And, during this time of quarantine, I am whining a bit about what I don’t have.
I don’t have my usual routine (and I am definitely a routine gal). I don’t have my normal schedule or work-related expectations. I don’t have access to my usual places of comfort like the harbor or the beaches. I don’t have time with my friends. And I don’t have my cherished place of worship.
So, it is definitely time for me (and maybe you) to review the richness of the contentment we can and should have in Christ.
Paul says in Phil. 4:12 that he had learned the “secret of being content.” That word “contentment” literally means to be contained. It is a description of a person who has so many resources within himself that he does not have to depend on any outside substitutes. It is an inner sense of rest or peace. It emanates from the inside out.
When Paul says “he has learned,” he is using a term that means to learn by experience. He discovered it. It was the door to a new way of thinking, in spite of his circumstances (remember, he was in prison when he wrote these words).
In Anne Dillow’s book, Calm my Anxious Heart, she speaks of “Teacup Theology.” She says that God has lovingly assigned each of us a unique tea cup. Now, I collect bone china teacups and would surely want mine to be one of those. But maybe someone else would choose a favorite mug.
At any rate, God then fills the cup with whatever He deems best. All of our abilities, opportunities, roles, relationships and physical attributes are all filled in by Him. Obviously, sometimes we would choose differently. But He does the filling.
And she points out that each cup has a particular handle. “We either choose to grasp it by the handle and lift it to Him, saying ‘I accept my portion, I accept this cup,’ or we choose to smash our cup to pieces, saying ‘God I refuse my portion. This cup is not the right size for me…’”
Well, when you put it like that, I get the point. So today I am grasping my handle and thanking the Lord for all the things I DO HAVE. I am grateful for my cup and all that is in it.
Maybe this week you and I will be able to say, “We have learned to be content…”