Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving and Contentment

"The voice of the special rebels and prophets, recommending discontent, should, as I have said, sound now and then suddenly, like a trumpet. But the voices of the saints and sages, recommending contentment, should sound unceasingly, like the sea." – G.K. Chesterton

Contentment - an elusive quality, and, for many, one that seems to fly in the face of our modern culture, in which we are ever urged to ambition and the accumulation of status symbols like new cars and bigger houses, bigger advances and better royalty percentages. Some would perhaps argue that contentment is a vice, not a virtue. Yet the scriptures advise that we seek it. The apostle Paul even goes as far as to say that “Godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Tim. 6:6). He says he has “learned the secret of being content in any and every situation…” (Phil.4:12).

I suspect a good part of that secret is being thankful. I suspect being thankful is the key to a lot of things in our lives.

I once spoke at a women's retreat in a tiny town in Alaska. There were over 200 women there from all across the state and the Yukon. Friday night was testimony time. One woman in particular touched me as she shared how her entire family had died, one by one, of Tuberculosis. When she was taken to hospital she knew she was dying but asked God to heal her. She said God responded in these words, "Give thanks before you receive." So she did. She lay in her bed for hours, through the night, thanking him for her life. Then she got out of bed, something she hadn't been able to do for days. When the doctor came that morning she told him she was healed. They took x-rays. Then they took them again. Then they sent her home.

"Give thanks before you receive." We do it before meals; why not do it before everything? Before getting out of bed, give thanks; before dropping your kids at school, give thanks; before driving to work, give thanks; before participating in the office gossip, give thanks; before blaming your spouse for all his/her failings, give thanks.

I suspect such a routine would indeed result in great contentment and great gain, perhaps in more ways than we could imagine.

"Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever." (Psalm 107:1)


darien said...

a timely post for me Marcia. Contentment can be elusive but I think you are right, it IS tied to thanksgiving. Thank you for these encouraging words today.


storygal said...

A good line, ``Give thanks before you receive.`Thanks for sharing.