Photo: my dad (81 years old now) in Bakersfield, CA in the early 1950’s with my grandfather Frank, Class A entry in the Soap Box Derby sponsored by the family business, the Tower Motel.
I couldn’t help but use this picture that my sister came across here lately of our dad and his dad on an early summer Saturday morning in Bakersfield in the early 1950’s. There is so much going on in this picture from the wooden not plastic race cars powered like the “Flintstones”, to the fashion of rolled up sleeves, white t-shirts, van-style shoes, khaki pants on a Saturday, single stenciled letters hand painted on the side, the word “Bakersfield” stenciled halfway across the back of the car, my grandmother’s shadow taking the picture maybe and the list goes on and on! I am thankful for God’s design of family and his perfect fatherly love for us that drives contentment.
Here are some random and good quotes from the book I just finished called The Power of Christian Contentment: Finding Deeper, Richer, Christ-Centered Joy by Andrew Davis:
My thesis for this book is that Christian contentment is finding delight in God’s wise plan for my life and humbly allowing him to direct me in it. My goal is that we will more consistently display Christian contentment so that, in the end, God will be glorified in our daily lives, we will be more joyful, we will be sources of inspiration, and those watching us will seek the Savior, through whom alone they can have this same supernatural contentment.
Paul learned the secret of contentment – dependence on God: “ Since this is a secret to be learned, two things are implied: (1) not every Christian has learned it, and (2) it is possible to learn… So what does “self-sufficient” mean here? I believe Paul was speaking, at a much higher spiritual level, about learning to live a life free from any dependency on anything in all creation whatsoever. In this, he has learned the secret of being as free from creation as Almighty God is.
Jeremiah Burroughs wrote this in his classic book on contentment defining it like this: “Christian contentment is that sweet, inward, quiet, gracious frame of spirit, which freely submits to and delights in God’s wise and fatherly disposal in every condition.” So, to sum up all these components, Christian contentment is a mindset produced by the sovereign grace of God in Christ, characterized by sweetness (not bitterness or sourness), genuineness from the heart (not acting or hypocrisy), and quietness (not murmuring or contentiousness)…
Without a wholehearted embracing of the doctrine of providence, lasting Christian contentment will be impossible to attain. And the more vigorously we study, meditate on, and delight in the detailed providence of God, the easier it will be to grasp Christian contentment… Providence is the direct activity of God toward the universe he created, moment by moment sustaining its existence and overruling its events to cause the unfolding story of history to occur according to his will… Beyond this, God works in a mysterious way, together with inanimate objects, animals, and intelligent beings (angels, demons, and humans), navigating their activities and choices to achieve his sovereign purposes without violating their freedoms… Countless places in Scripture assert God’s continual providential care over the universe. For our purposes, it’s best to divide them into two main categories: (1) God’s general care over the universe and its various creatures and (2) God’s special care for the unfolding of human history, especially resulting in the salvation of his people… “Providence is the perpetuity and continuation of creation”… We can scarcely begin to understand how our lives and free choices will interact with the billions of others on earth to achieve God’s overall plan in redemptive history. But every moment is purposeful, and nothing is wasted.
In suffering: “ As C. S. Lewis wrote, pain is God’s megaphone to wean us from the earth. Before we go through pain and suffering, we are often so entranced by the world that we can barely hear his still, small voice. We treasure the things of the world far too much. We define our blessedness in the meager terms of prosperity, physical health, success, family, friends, and the like. God often scarcely makes the radar screen. God needs to wean us from earthly idols to cause us to focus entirely on him. And pain is often a powerfully effective tool in killing our idols.”
The empty tomb gives us immeasurable power for contentment in any and every circumstance. It gives us hope when we face bodily suffering and pain, even death. We know that our resurrection bodies will be glorious, powerful, incorruptible, incapable of ever dying again (1 Cor. 15:42–43; Rev. 21:4). That hope is intimately connected with contentment.
What do these include? Full forgiveness of all our sins, imputation of Christ’s perfect righteousness, adoption into the family of God, the indwelling Holy Spirit, a guaranteed inheritance in heaven, fellowship with brothers and sisters from every nation on earth, a lifetime of worthwhile works to do for his glory, a future resurrection body, and everlasting spiritual treasures unto infinity! How vast and great and immeasurable are the mercies of God! The more we take inventory of this wealth, the more we will realize that Christ is the sum of all these treasures, for in him are hidden all the treasures of God (Col. 2:3). And the more content we will become.