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contentment

April 24, 2008

Lydia Brownback, author and editor extraordinaire, has recently released a couple of books in a new “On-the-Go Devotional” series. Written for women, “On-the-Go Devotionals easily tuck into a purse or gym bag and make great gifts. Each lesson is self-contained, with Scripture and a paragraph or two of teaching that will steer women away from worldly coping techniques, away from themselves and their circumstances, and onto God and their security in Christ.” The first in series is Trust: A Godly Woman’s Adornment and the second Contentment: A Godly Woman’s Adornment. Aileen has been reading them, enjoying them and benefiting from them. Husbands: these are two books well worth buying as a treat for your wife.

Here is a brief excerpt from a chapter in Contentment that deals with “My Share.” Though the topic in view is family squabbles over “stuff” (and really, how many families do not have shameful stories of fighting over dividing an inheritance) the application is far wider.


We can pray, “Lord, work in my sister’s heart so that she sees how unfair this is,” but the answer we will get is the same answer that Jesus game to this man: “Man, who made me an judge or arbitrator over you?” (Luke 12:14). And he turned to all who were listening and said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (v. 15).

The first thing Jesus did was to clear up misconceptions about who he is (v.14). He did that then, and he does it today. We will never know contentment in Christ if we seek him as a divine referee, however unfairly we may have been treated. His work in our lives is not about making sure we get the maximum benefits in the here and now, even when we are entitled to those benefits. In fact, real contentment often comes when we willingly embrace the loss of them.

The second thing Jesus does is reveal the spirit of covetousness that underlies most of our prayers about obtaining our share. Fighting over things is something we are to guard against because all such fighting is sin. But Jesus does more than simply place his finger on the sin problem; he provides a remedy for it by redirecting our thinking to the place of peace. We will never find contentment—freedom from that angry feeling of unfairness—by getting the things that are rightfully ours. We will find it by letting go of our entitlement to them.