DayBreaks for 07/04/11 – Discontentment’s Foothold

DayBreaks for 07/04/11 – Discontentment’s Foothold

NOTE: Galen is on Sabbatical until 7/11.  Until he returns, DayBreaks will be publishing prior devotions (that is, if Galen has access to the Internet!)  Thanks for your understanding!


Luke 3:14 – “And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.

Philippians 4:11 – “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

1 Timothy 6:8 – “And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.

Discontentment.  Now there’s a common spiritual and physical ailment!  There isn’t anyone I know who hasn’t expressed discontentment with something.  I have certainly demonstrated discontentment with a lot of things.  Most recently, I was not happy with my watch.  Silly, isn’t it?  But it’s true.  And so what did I do?  I got another one.  Prudent?  No.  It was motivated with discontentment.

Watches are one thing – but there are many other things we can be discontent with.  In the verse from Luke, the soldiers weren’t content with their wages.  Sound like anyone you know or anyone you look at in the mirror from time to time?  Our “wish list” according to Paul’s letter to Timothy should extend no further than food and raiment.  Learning to be content isn’t easy and I don’t claim to master it.

But how does discontentment get a start in our lives?  I again thought that Andree Seu, writing for WORLD magazine in their May 26, 2001 issue had some good insights.  She was describing how she was dealing with her widowhood after 2 years when she wrote: “Who knows when or how discontentment gains a foothold, or crosses the line, that little thought that would be god?  Like the fist-sized cloud of Elijah atop Mt. Carmel, just turn around and it’s swallowed up the sky.  Yesterday you had contentment.  Today…

“Did the sentries at the door of my heart sleep when Nan and I talked that time, and the pot was stirred, and the smallest whisper said to my soul, ‘You will have nothing good ever again’?  Was there something artificial, something forced, in my equanimity after all.  (You can always gain peace with denial, but it will pop out all over the place.)”

Remember the story of Elijah on Mt. Carmel?  Once something small gains a foothold in our life, it grows until it blocks out the sunshine, and the discontentment in our hearts begins to rain on our parade of contentment.  It doesn’t take much to get discontentment rolling – sometimes something as simple and seemingly harmless as a few words from a friend that suggests something that raises the spectre of discontentedness in our heart.

We may labor hard at denying our discontent, but as she notes, if we are in denial about our real state of contentedness, it will become apparent.  Just as June is “busting out all over”, so it is with discontentment unless we learn the lesson that Paul did: be content in all circumstances.

Copyright 2001 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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