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Be content, in much and in need

February 24, 2013

What comes to your mind when you hear the phrase, “Be content”?

I grew up almost always having enough of everything I wanted, except for minor things like a toy gun that I asked for but my parents did not let me have one. My parents showed me to be simple, thrifty, and to save for the future. As a Christian, I also don’t look at things by the monetary value. Expensive clothes, branded handbags, gourmet food, luxurious travels, .. all these I avoid as I don’t see how they would serve Jesus or lead other people to Him. I let myself look mediocre–in a way–because I believe that if someone likes me, that should be because he/she finds values in my inner characters, not in my outer beauty or in the monetary value of my possessions. Also, to show Jesus’ humility and service to the poor and the lost, one cannot be up there sitting on comfy manager’s desk and drinking cocktails.
Therefore, until recently, I thought being content means to feel satisfied when there is little, or relatively little compared to what other people have.

However, God teaches me that being content means being content and thankful whatever the circumstances. It can be when I have much, can be when I have little. God does sometimes give us little to teach us to cherish what we have and to stay faithful to Him. Sometimes, He gives us more to enjoy. Eating ice creams, watching movies, going to the beaches.. are typical of those I’d avoid as I don’t see long term values in them, but I learn that even these entertainments are God-given, and they are to be enjoyed, not loathed. “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” ~James 1:17 (汉语)

What we should remember, however, to be thankful to God for these gifts and to return to Him the glory. Prideful men would say, “I built this empire with my strengths and wit,” certainly runs on their own and God does not approve of their work.
When we struggle and in need, remember that God does not forget you. Stay faithful, knowing that you are already winners–by having Jesus–the living bread. “Man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” ~Deuteronomy 8:3 (汉语)
When we are comfortable, remember that we bear responsibilities to help other people. “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” Luke 12:48

I still often struggle being comfortable. I resist living comfortably, especially I see clearly that money is indeed the root of all evil (汉语). But I’ve learned to be thankful, and to realize that this is how God has called me to serve Him. Had I live poorly, I might not have gone through those times when I was poor in spirit and was saved by Jesus, the true living God.

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