Contentment

Lou Lotz

READ : Philippians 4:10-13

I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. (v. 11)

“You shall not covet” (Exod. 20:17). Quick quiz: How is this commandment different from the other nine? Time's up. All the other commandments deal with external conduct; they are concerned with outward behavior. The tenth Commandment forbids a state of mind. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus internalizes the Commandments. Anger, he says, is inward murder. Lust is inward adultery. But Jesus does not, cannot, internalize the final commandment—it is already internal.

Covetousness is a dead giveaway that we have lost sight of how blessed we are. When you covet you see only the other person, losing sight of your own blessings and advantages. You miss out on the joy of being yourself.

Covetousness is also a sign that we have forgotten the source of our blessings. “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven,” said John the Baptist (John 3:27). We covet the possessions or the accomplishments of others. But we would feel differently about those things if we recognized them as gifts of God. How can I be angry at you, or covetous, or resentful of your good fortune, when I realize that the gifts you possess are given to you by God?

If we are ever going to be able to say, with Paul, “I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content,” it will be when we appreciate how blessed we are, and where the blessings come from.

PRAYER

Father, help me to be more concerned with my neighbor's good than my neighbor's goods. Amen.