Someone this past week, was talking about opportunities in life, and said how we shouldn't always be looking for another new thing or a better thing because we need to just be content and happy with what we've been given. It had a dissonant tone to it when I heard this...and I couldn't really figure out why, but I think now I know.
Paul says that he is content in all circumstances. Content? He was satisfied with what he had, and did not want anything else? Yes. It's true, he was content. Through prison, torture, allegations, investigations, hunger, exhaustion, persecution and ridicule. He knew that his satisfaction would never be met on earth, so he was utterly and completely content. And in this sense, I think we should all be this content. We should be content wherever we have been placed, in whatever race we are running, in whatever job, housing situation, social status, whatever. We should be content and know that our being, our self worth and justification will not come from the next best thing, but in the God who directs our paths and that wherever we are He will use to His glory if we allow him in.
However......Paul also says that he continues to press on toward the goal. Well what does that mean? If he is totally content, why is he "looking for more"? As I said above, I think we should all be content in the circumstances that we find ourselves, yet throughout the Bible there is an example of never finding ourselves "stale," but always learning, growing, trying, failing and trying again. In our situation there should be a peaceful contentment, but in our spirit, in our soul, should there ever be a contentment? Shouldn't we always be searching out what God is speaking to us? Where He is directing us? What opportunities might be shadowed around the corner, just waiting to be revealed by our search?
If I had been completely content, I would have never tried finding another job, I would have never been employed where I am today, would never have met the friends I now have, and would have been "perfectly content." Yet I would have been missing something (though whether I would know that or not I'll never really know)....but there's a whole side of my life that I never would have found. I would have never gone to Mexico and found blessing through small conversations. I never would have had the opportunities to talk about Romania's orphans to pastors all over the world. None of this would have happened if I had been ....content.
I AM content....every day....some days....but I'm never content to stay the same person that I was the day before. It's Christ's life that challenges me to grow, to run toward the prize, to be drawn closer and closer every day toward the Father who has blessed my life. In this sense, I will never be content. I hope I never am content. I hope you can be content in your circumstance,....but never content in your soul. Thoughts?