Simply content? Pie-in-the-sky dream or something tangible, real, possible?
An ancient sage once mused: “God has made us plain and simple, but we have made ourselves very complicated” (Ecclesiastes 7:29 GNV).
Brilliant! Seems ancient man was as complex as modern man. Regardless of our moment in human history, mankind has always been a master of the craft of making things complicated, as if complexity equals smart. (It could be argued that modern man is not just happy with mastering the craft, we’re determined to package and export our version of perplexing to the world.)
Contentment & Simplicity
Simplicity—very different from being simplistic—means a return to a more holistic, authentic way of devotion and life; shedding the superfluous clutter that we’ve somehow accumulated or inherited. Simplicity requires intentionally re-engaging with the Master and His teachings as we align our lives within His framing perspective; learning to listen and cooperate with His gentle yet poignant nudges. A fairly bright fellow named Albert Einstein had the temerity to suggest: “When the solution is simple, God is speaking”.
Contentment then is a wonderful by-product of simplicity. For the good life is only possible when we stop wanting a better one.
Alfred Nobel said, “Contentment is the only real wealth”. While money might be able to buy tons of (short-term) comfort, it cannot buy an ounce of contentment.
There’s a pithy African proverb that captures this profoundly: “From contentment with little comes happiness”. True, sustainable happiness is not having what you want, but wanting what you have.
You may be familiar with words Paul penned: “I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content” (Philippians 4:11).
Notice, contentment was not something Paul could pray for or believe for. Or get from a book. It’s not the result of some formula or a quick three step sermonette. Contentment was something Paul had to learn. Through highs and lows, plenty and not-so-much, success and challenge, we learn contentment through a meaningful relationship with Father God and in faithful response to His leading.
PS. If you found this interesting, you may want to read a three-part series on the topic of contentment starting with this post I Can, But I Can’t.