One of the prevalent messages we hear is, “You’re not good enough.” If you want to get a job, you have to get new skills and make more connections. If you want to keep your job, you have to get better at what you do. If you produce at the rate X, you need to double by this time next year.
Christians think of God as perfect. Traditional notions of perfection were static. If God is perfect, than any change on God’s part would be a change away from perfection. Therefore, it was reasoned, God doesn’t change.
Humans, by common conviction, are imperfect. We need change so we can become perfect. If we work hard enough, each little change we make can be an incremental change toward perfection. If we really love Jesus, we will strive for perfection. Discontent with the way things are is, therefore, a sign of love for Jesus. Makes sense, doesn’t it?
Then we find this odd verse in Scripture: “Godliness with contentment is great gain.” Ah, someone observes, that is only talking about money. The thought is that if we are godly and content with how much money we have, we will have great gain. Apparently then, “Godliness with financial contentment is great gain,” while “Godliness with discontent in every other area is great gain.”
If we’re in business, we need to get better. We need more customers and greater income, lest the business close down and everyone lose their job.
If we’re in ministry, we need to get better. Not getting better is a sign of complacency. When thousands around us are lost, complacency is the worst of sins. We need to get better.
God’s grace is sufficient. I can find contentment in that grace. That grace doesn’t leave me in inactive lethargy; rather, because God’s grace is sufficient I can find contentment that transcends and overcomes my inadequacy and lack of goodness (in whatever area).
What do you think? How do you manage our infatuation with discontentment?