Olsen Park Church of Christ


Introduction.  (Ecclesiastes 1:3-8)  Each of the elements referred to in this text, sun, wind, rivers—serve to illustrate the problem introduced in vs. 3 and then explained in vs. 8, “the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing”—“all things are full of labor.”  From the day that we first cry out for our mother’s milk, until the day we covet just one more breath of life man struggles with contentment.  When (in this life) can we ever sit back, fully content, fully satisfied, with no more hunger, thirst, desire, aspiration, hope, or dreams of something more, something different, or something better? Never!  But, is life to be consumed by a constant sense of discontentment?

I.  Jesus Contentment.

A.  Jesus taught, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses” (Luke 12:15).

B.  Of Himself He said, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head” (Matt. 8:20).

C.  He challenges us to realized, “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost?” (Luke 9:25).

D.  Yet, He was also discontent with some things (John 2:13-17).

II. Paul’s Contentment.

A.    Paul taught, “what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ” (Phil. 3:7).

B.     He said further, “…indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ” (Phil. 3:8).

C.     Paul learned to be content in all things (Phil. 4:11-13).

D.    Yet, there were also times when he was most content (Gal. 1:6-9; 2:11-14).

III.  Compared and Analyzed.

A.    In what were they content?  Their possessions, their homes, their position, their state of life (even in hardship).

B.     In what were they discontent?  Falsehood, sin, irreverence, dishonor to God.

C.     In general they were content with the material and discontent with the spiritual. 

1.       What about us?  Are we content with the things we should be content with?  Sadly, most of the time we are content with things that should make us discontent and content with things that should make us discontent.

2.      Let’s notice how we can be guilty of this.

IV.  Discontent when we should be Content.

A.    Sometimes we have the “if only_____then_______”

1.      Christians should be content with what we have (Heb. 13:5-6).

2.      We can be content with basic needs (1 Tim. 6:6-10).

3.      We should not put confidence in material things (Job 31:24-28).

B.     Things we cannot change.

1.      We are often discontent with things like our home, job, car, clothes, our society, culture, or country.  In those things we can change—do it!  Don’t just grumble and do nothing to make things better.

2.      Many things are outside of our control.  Can we change other people? We can teach, we can influence, but we can’t change people’s personality or mannerism (John 7:24). 

3.      We must remember God’s words to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have refused him. For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart”  (1 Sam. 16:7).

4.      Relationships: Parents, Children, Spouses (Col. 3:18-23).  The responsibility to change lies within each of us.  We can’t force others to change.  We must be content with what we cannot change.

C.      The Church, even though we may be inactive.

1.      We may say things like, “If they would just…” or “they never do…” or “…I wish they would…” 

2.      Let me ask, who are “they?”  The fact is “we” are “they.” 

3.      If the church isn’t what it should be, it is our fault!  There isn’t some abstract body over there that we can blame—we are responsible.

4.      We must take responsibility (I Cor. 12:4-6; 12; 23-27).

5.      We are to grow up in all things into Him, “…who is the head—Christ—from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love” (Eph. 4:15-16).

V.  Content when we should be Discontent.

A.    Weak faith.

1.      We must not stay content to be weak (Heb. 5:12-14).

2.      We must not stay content to be disinterested in things of the Lord (Ps. 1:1-6).

3.      Do we want Jesus to be disinterested in us?  “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father's, and of the holy angels” (Luke 9:26).

B.     Unfruitful relationships.

1.      Family relationship that are not what they ought to be (Eph. 5:22-25; 28; 33; 6:1-4).

2.      Relationships with Christians that are not what they ought to be.  We must work to improve them, correct them—not be content to let them stay as they ought not to be (Mark 11:25-26)..

3.      Relationships with non-Christians that provide the wrong influence (2 Cor. 6:14-18).

D.    False doctrine.

1.      Christians are to withdraw from falsehood (1 Tim. 6:3-5).

2.      Christians are to “test” things (1 John 4:1-6). 

Conclusion.  May we all strive to attain the kind of contentment that Paul and our Lord attained.  May we also attain the type of discontentment that they attained.  

Kyle Pope 2010

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