Content in a World of Discontent

More, bigger, better, quicker. We live in a world of discontent. The season of Thanksgiving is evolving into two new holidays – Black Friday and Cyber Monday. No, you say? You still celebrate Thanksgiving with the turkey, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie – and you take time to share that day with family and friends around a table. Me too! But, what has been swirling in your mind and tugging at your heart lately?

Are you wondering…
  • How you will get all your shopping done in time for Christmas?
  • How you can strategize to get in on the best sales – whether “black or cyber”?
  • How to capture a photo to share in your Christmas cards – or on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram?
  • How to stretch your budget for your Thanksgiving meal or traveling expenses this week?
  • How you will survive all the holiday drama?
Are you overwhelmed yet? 

That’s not my purpose today, but I would like to remind us all how easy it is to be dragged into the world’s way of thinking. More, bigger, better, quicker. Picture perfect. Without conflict. All smiling faces. And apparently, with no financial considerations or stress.

Doesn’t sound like reality to me. But, the good news is that we don’t have to live that way! We really can be content even when chaos surrounds us. We can choose to be thankful even while living in a world full of greed. How? Only by the grace of God.

Numbers 11 gives us a great example to help us keep our priorities straight - and to find strength in. It gives us a very descriptive example, and warning, of how easy it is to get caught up in the shackles of discontent. As God miraculously fed the Israelite nation with manna and quail while they wandered in the wilderness, that gift was soon taken for granted and eventually was the cause of much grumbling, selfishness and sin.

Even though…

God provided for all their needs and even gave them a cloud to guide them, both day and night, it wasn’t good enough. (How often have I heard people say they wished God would just tell them what to do - write it in the sky even! But, the Israelites had a cloud and still complained about God’s plans for them.)

Even though…

The Israelites had what they needed to fill their bellies and strengthen their bodies, their amazement at God’s provision was quickly influenced by the ‘rabble’ (the unbelievers) and was replaced with griping and complaining. (How easy it is to get caught up in the commercialism of our society, to be tempted by the bigger mindset and to somehow think that everyone else has it "better" or "easier" than we do.)

Even though…

Moses had witnessed miracle after miracle, and he spoke with God on a regular basis, his confidence in the abilities of the Almighty One was also shaken by the influence of those around him. (When is the last time you doubted God's provision and perfect will when your day to day reality was less than what you had hoped for?)

What was God’s response to all these accusations of neglect and lack of provision? 

He gave more - more than they could handle. He was faithful - even in their unfaithfulness.

God is able. He loves us. He patiently waits for us to ask Him to assist us in the challenges of our days – without accusation or attitude. He seeks a humble acknowledgement of His hand on our life even when we don’t understand what he is doing or what he has planned for our future. God is faithful. He loves to provide for our needs and beyond!

As you prepare to celebrate a Thanksgiving meal with family and friends (and I’m assuming you’ll not be eating manna and quail!), do you truly believe that God is able to provide for all your needs? Do you have a thankful heart, or are you allowing anxious thoughts to clutter your mind? Is God a part of your ‘to do’ list today? Have you asked him what your priorities should be in the coming days? God cares about your cares. If you ask, he is able to help you organize and prioritize your days. Plus, we have a Savior who can totally empathize with the struggle of the flesh as it seeks to cause the spirit within to fade away as but a memory.

So may I remind us all what we are taught in Matthew 6:31-34 -

“Do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans [that rabble] run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."  Love, Jesus

Don't let the 'rabble' stir up discontentment and fear in your heart. Instead, ask your Heavenly Father to walk with you, guide you and to give you the gift of contentment. His arm is not “too short!” You can trust him to be with you right where you are.

Happy Thanksgiving, and may God bless you and all those you are thankful for!


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