Searching for Contentment – Ecclesiastes 6:8,9
February 23, 2023, 10:00 AM

8. What advantage has a wise man over a fool? What does a poor man gain by knowing how to conduct himself before others? 9. Better what the eye sees than the roving of the appetite. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

One of the greatest gifts one can have is the gift of contentment. That was the search Solomon never seemed to have attained after God had given him so much. What would make you content? Can a poor man find contentment with riches or can he find it knowing how to conduct himself with others? Is he poor because he does not know how to get along?

What this proverb might be saying is like another one that says, “A bird in the hand is better than two in bush.” It is better to learn contentment with what you have and see in front of you, than in unattainable dreams. We have talked before about making goals and dreams. Working for something gives purpose and meaning, but life is unpredictable. The only goals that last are ultimately from the Lord.

Lord knew what He was doing when He gave us that 10th commandment, “Thou shall not covet.”. We compare ourselves and judge ourselves by what they have, their status, their positions, and their abilities. If we are poor, we dream what it would be like to be rich. We might see someone who is smart and want to be like him. We listen to someone musical and dream about having those talents. If we have a small house, we envy those with bigger ones. Many times, our dreams make us dissatisfied with the reality.

I like the story adapted from a folktale from Poland. A farmer lives in a small house with his wife and children and the grandparents were coming to live with them. He was afraid it would be too crowded and noisy and it was so. He asked his rabbi what he should do to find peace as he thought he’d go crazy. The rabbi advises the farmer to bring his chickens into his home, too. After few days then man returned and complained more. The Rabbi told him to go home and bring in the sheep and next week bring in their goats.

The situation goes from bad to worse. Finally, farmer concluded he could no longer stand the commotion noise and smell. So, the Rabbi suggests that the farmer take all of the animals out of the house. When he does so, the farmer’s family finds the home very spacious, peaceful and comfortable. At last, he was content.

1 Timothy 6:6-8 says, “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.”

Application:  Follow Paul's instruction to learn to be content by developing a heart of Thanksgiving. Start a Thanksgiving journal during Lent and thank Him for…..everything. Write it down – the bird that sings, the sun, a cup of coffee, a warm house, etc. In this way, you “enter His courts with Thanksgiving”.

Prayer: Lord, we thank You for all that You have given us. Help me to learn to be content.