Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
As I read this verse it made me think about ‘Purpose’. God created us to do good things that He has already prepared in advance for us. Works do not save, but the saved person works for God and glorifies Him.
The world emphasises the importance and need to have purpose in life. Purpose enables us to live a meaningful and full life. As people we have a search for purpose. The desire to live a life that is going to count for something and make a difference is imbued in us. A sense of purpose helps us put things in perspective, to refocus on things that matter. It is shaped by what we believe in and abets us to live by those values.
Having a sense of purpose is important but where and in what we find our purpose makes a huge difference. Do we base our sense of purpose on that which is tied to this world like getting a much-desired Job, getting into University, or tied to our feelings and emotions like happiness, comfort or security? None of these things are bad in any way. It is good to strive and achieve these things as long as they are not the be all and end all of things in our life. These things can be fleeting, we might lose that job, we might not get into the university or the degree we hoped and planned for. What we started out to do may not be bringing happiness, comfort or security in our lives anymore.
The reality is that our purpose can and should be found only in Christ. Jesus is our goal and His love, compassion and saving grace is to be made known to others. Centring ourselves around the purpose He has for our lives is of utmost significance and consequence. It may not seem ‘successful ‘or ‘accomplished ‘in the eyes of the world but we know we are being obedient to the Father and that contentment of living in His will cannot be matched or compared to anything else.
As I thought about His purpose for each of us and living in that knowledge of actively fulfilling whatever God gives us to do each day, I segued into thinking about contentment that comes in living such a life.
There is no denying that in the frenzied pursuit in today’s world of things that promise to fill us with contentment, they all ironically leave us feeling more discontented and never satisfied.
1 Timothy 6:6 says “But godliness with contentment is great gain.”
God has called us to a life marked with true contentment that only He can provide. The contentment in the inner person.
Learning to be content is something that I have worked and still working on.
But let not wanting to be content lead to complacency.
I like this saying by Simone De Beauvoir “It’s not a very big step from Contentment to Complacency.”
Philippians 4:11-13 “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
Paul talks about learning to be content, but does he mean we should not try to better our situation or improve our education, provide and do better for our loved ones.
In Mathew 25:14-30 we read about the parable of the talents. A man prior to leaving on a journey entrusted to his servants his property and he gave his servants five, three and one talent each according to his own ability. We go on to read that the servants with the five and three talents doubled their talents by the time their master returned but the servant with one talent buried it and did nothing with it.
The servant who received one talent was content with what he had been given and did not think to do anything with it. He saw no reason to put that resource to work, despite the intent of his master. When the master returned, he rebuked the servant with the one talent.
Do we want to do the same as the servant with the one talent did? We need to be persistent and faithful even in the smallest things, because what we do now matters not just for today but also for eternity.
Mathew 6:33 “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.”
There is a future and eternal aspect of seeking Him but there is also a present aspect, submitting ourselves to Him and actively embracing and fulfilling His purpose for our life.
Make the pursuit of Jesus our everyday priority and we will find contentment. Not allowing worry for tomorrow or what lies ahead be what fills us, but the knowledge that as long as we know that we are in Christ, that is what matters. Contentment comes when God and His will are the priority in our lives and our perspective is eternal and not temporal. Real contentment is doing all things to glorify God and furthering His kingdom purposes.
Paul describes His contentment in Philippians 4:11-13 to be irrespective of His circumstances. Paul does what God calls him to do, to the best he can in whatever situation or circumstance he finds himself in.
There is no complacency in Paul’s pursuit of God’s purpose planned for him or in the kind of contentment that God desires for him and neither should there be for us.