Morning and Evening - Spurgeon - Feb 16
“I have learned, in whatever state I am, therewith to be content.” -- Philippians 4:11
These words show us that contentment is not a natural propensity of man. “Ill weeds grow apace.” Covetousness, discontent, and murmuring are as natural to man as thorns are to the soil. We need not sow thistles and brambles; they come up naturally enough, because they are indigenous to earth: and so, we need not teach men to complain; they complain fast enough without any education. But the precious things of the earth must be cultivated. If we would have wheat, we must plough and sow; if we want flowers, there must be the garden, and all the gardener’s care. Now, contentment is one of the flowers of heaven, and if we would have it, it must be cultivated; it will not grow in us by nature; it is the new nature alone that can produce it, and even then we must be specially careful and watchful that we maintain and cultivate the grace which God has sown in us. Paul says, “I have learned ... to be content;” as much as to say, he did not know how at one time. It cost him some pains to attain to the mystery of that great truth. No doubt he sometimes thought he had learned, and then broke down. And when at last he had attained unto it, and could say, “I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content,” he was an old, grey-headed man, upon the borders of the grave—a poor prisoner shut up in Nero’s dungeon at Rome. We might well be willing to endure Paul’s infirmities, and share the cold dungeon with him, if we too might by any means attain unto his good degree. Do not indulge the notion that you can be contented with learning, or learn without discipline. It is not a power that may be exercised naturally, but a science to be acquired gradually. We know this from experience. Brother, hush that murmur, natural though it be, and continue a diligent pupil in the College of Content.Glimpses of God's grace have been invading my soul as of late. The desire to know Jesus to really be the name that holds more than anything, the reality that my place is where the Gospel will be found ... these have been bouncing around as this contentment talk comes up. I've realized lately that I have been living in a "what if" mentality rather than an "Ok, what's now" thought.
Contentment -- not just of being satisfied. But, being willing to accept - to acquiesce.
Today I got to learn some contentment. I got an email from a boss that stated I shouldn't have done one thing until another was fully completed. Stupid pointless story for the focus of learning. We've all been there -- certain we've been "unfairly" corrected. Wanting to correct those who are teaching us. Desiring to respond in the like: "I was gonna do that next ..."; "This was a different situation than normal ... "; "You never told me about this ... " You get the picture. The desire to right the wrong that's been put to us.
And just as my little fingers got to moving on the keyboard, the Spirit graciously stepped in and reminded me of a few things -- Remember Jesus? They won't even really let him be the King he said he was. They mocked, taunted and scorned him for the things he did and said. They hit him, spit on him and pulled out his beard. And he didn't do anything. He didn't fight back, he didn't talk back, he didn't defend himself. He acquiesced. He was willing to accept that which was given to him. More unfair than my email, more unjust than my correction, more difficult to accept than one sentence of text. Beautiful.
I didn't email anything back. I made a note to do better next time. I moved on. The Spirit was at work. Beautiful.
I'm learning contentment.