Today I’m posting a devotional from the book Steve Baker wrote. As a dad, grandfather, and Christian school Bible teacher, he wrote the devotionals in O Taste and See: A Family Devotional Guide to encourage parents and children to learn from God’s Word together. Each is related to one or more of the core needs I teach about often and that are taught in my book, Finding Authentic Hope and Wholeness. He has seen their importance and wanted devotionals as another way of helping children meet the needs in healthy ways.
I chose to post a devotional about contentment because I’m so concerned with the lack of contentment that I see in children and adults. As you might know, I address this in Screens and Teens and in my talks about technology.
After you read this, I encourage you to share it with your children. I needed the reminder about Paul and the dog in an Aesop’s fable. I do not want to be like him! The illustration will make it easy for your children to understand your concerns.
CONTENTMENT – the state of being happy regardless of situations and satisfied; having no need of more
“But godliness with contentment is great gain.” 1 Timothy 6:6
Scripture Text: Philippians 4:11, 1 Timothy 6:1-19
The apostle Paul wrote to the Philippians when they had been gracious to support him financially. He stated that he had learned how to be content. “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content,” Philippians 4:11. Paul knew what it was to have plenty and he had suffered the lack of necessities as well. He had been full and hungry. Because of these experiences he declared, “I can do all things through Jesus Christ my Lord.”
I am reminded of the old Aesop’s fable of the dog and the bone. As a dog went prancing off to bury a big bone he had been given, he crossed a small bridge. Looking down into the water below he saw his reflection. Thinking it was another dog with a bone, he growled and snarled. He could see the expression of growling and snarling on the face of the other dog in return. ‘I want that bone too,’ thought the greedy hound. But when he snapped at the dog in the water’s reflection, he dropped the bone that was in his own mouth.
So it is with many people today. They see the possessions of others and are discontent. They want more. They want what others have. Rather than rejoicing in their own possessions as blessings from God and continuing to work toward the things they need, they slide into a pit of dissatisfaction. Like the dog in the fable, they lose the joy and comfort of God’s provision.
Paul had learned the joy of trusting God in any situation. He looked beyond the present circumstances to understand God has more in store for His children. He encouraged us to look ahead to eternity and set our affections on things above. The hymn “Count Your Many Blessings” provides encouraging words. When you look at others with their lands and gold, think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold. Count your many blessing money cannot buy, your reward in heaven not your home on high.
Many times our discontentment is evident in the ‘fast food, instant gratification, multiple choice’ society in which we live. We become picky and selective. Many kids refuse to eat what is laid out in front of them. One great way to learn contentment is to practice fasting.
- As a family skip a meal and use that time to pray for others who may not have even had a meal that day.
- Another way to fast is to abstain from a particular aspect of your meals, like dessert.
- Another suggestion is to serve a meal that would be common in a poor family, like rice and beans.
While practicing one of these suggestions, pray for those less fortunate than yourselves and thank the Lord for your blessings.
Scraping the Plate:
1 Timothy 6:6 gives great encouragement to be content with the promise that godliness with contentment is great gain.
Read the context of that verse by reading all of 1 Timothy 6:1-10. What do you think is the motivation of these false teachers whom Paul is warning about in verses 5, 9-10? What do you think he means by our gain? What does being godly in Christ provide for us? Consider verse 19.
Nanny’s Chocolate Pie:
Our contentment rests in who we are as God’s children. We know that our Father cares for us and will provide for our needs.
[If you purchase the book, you’ll understand why Steve uses these headings at the end of the devotionals.]
Steve Baker has served in ministry for over thirty-five years and recently finished his masters in divinity. With his heart for discipleship, he has worked as a senior pastor, associate pastor, teacher, coach, and hospice chaplain. In 2010, God called him and his wife, Joyce, to help launch a University-Model school. He is currently a Bible teacher at a Christian school in San Antonio, Texas. Steve has a passion for families and mentoring believers to walk in this world humbly and boldly as warriors sharing the powerful message of the gospel to all people.