Contentment is a state of mind of a person happy in all situations of life. The happiness of a contented person does not depend upon houses or lands, fame or applause, riches or glamour. In prosperity and in adversity he is stable and secure in the midst of the storm. Contentment breeds happiness, peace and serenity.
Discontent plagues humanity. In spite of abundance and prosperity, many people live in depression. Depression has become the second killer in the United States of America. The disease is spreading all over the world like an epidemic. Girls and women are more inclined to this dreadful disease. Depression can lead to suicide.
Globalization has encouraged the menace of consumerism. People are driven by goods, and there is no end to acquiring goods and gadgets.
Men have three kinds of physical desires – necessities, comforts and luxuries. The essential necessities are food, clothes and shelter. We deserve the necessities of life. We can enjoy some comforts. In a country like India or for that matter anywhere in this world, we should not lust for luxuries. Contentment does not depend upon our possessions.
It is our attitude that matters. The late Dr. Albert Schweitzer, theologian, musician, and winner of the 1952 Nobel Peace Prize, once said, “The greatest discovery of any generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering the attitude of their minds. Both values and attitudes are components of our personality. By identifying the values and attitudes, we are enabled to a better understanding of a person’s behaviour. Attitudes are evaluative statements, either favourable or unfavourable– concerning objects, people or events.
There is no one like Jesus Christ in history. He was the most contented person. The secret of His contentment was His content of character and not the abundance of things. His vision, mission and action focused on only one thing. That one thing was His consuming passion to do the will of God–to save mankind through His vicarious death and resurrection.
The late Dr. Radhakrishnan, philosopher and President of India, once said, “Contentment is greater than riches”. The Bible says, “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out” (1 Timothy 6:6-7).
Several Hollywood and Bollywood stars and sports celebrities are very wealthy but lack contentment. Many ordinary people who have little are content. But we find discontented people among the poor also. So it is not in the possession nor non-possession of wealth and fame but the attitude towards them that matters. “And having food and raiment let us be content with them” (1 Timothy 6:8).
Man badly needs two things–food and clothing. A big house will be given to us in God’s time. God may grant big things to His children. Nevertheless, we should not lust after a big house, a big car or a big bank balance.
If you ask such things, God may grant them. As John Wesley correctly puts it, “Material blessings are inversely proportional to spiritual blessings.” This is not a poverty theology but a contentment theology based on the New Testament (Romans 14:17). “And he gave them their request, but sent leanness into their soul” (Psalm 106:15).
In conclusion, remember that “there is only one life to be lived, that will soon be past, and what we do for the Lord alone will last.” (C.T. Studd) Wealth, pleasure and positions are fleeting. Generosity, hospitality, Christian giving and winning souls for Christ are what make men and women truly happy and contented.