Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God

6 Grabbing or grateful- Part 2

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1 Timothy 6:6-16

“6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. 11 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13 In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you 14 to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 which God will bring about in his own time—God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever.”

Second not only does an attitude of gratitude create contentment but an attitude of gratitude generates joy. One of the reasons we don’t rejoice is because we don’t take the time to recall all that God has done for us. Have you ever made a list of God’s goodness and grace, if you have when was the last time you stopped to look at your list?  That is what thanksgiving is all about, remembering and rejoicing. Thanksgiving takes our thoughts off of our wants and focuses them on God’s faithfulness. Thanksgiving gives us a reprieve from our labor as it redirects our lives into praise and praise has a way of putting our problems into perspective. Rejoicing is refreshing, where complaining only consumes. Do you spend more time cheering or complaining? One of the greatest killers to contentment is comparison. I am really content until I start looking through the catalogue surfing the web and seeing all the stuff. I liked my vehicle until I take a cruised through the new car lot. I am satisfied with what I wear until I stroll through the store. I love our home until I think of what it would be like to have a home by the beach or a  cabin up in the mountains. I am satisfied and content until I start comparing what I have with others. Most of us have enough of everything until we look at those who have more. Our tenancy is toward comparing not contentment, partly because we forget what we have and focus on what we don’t. Its so easy in our culture to get caught up and consumed by the comparison game. When John the Baptist was preaching in the wilderness, many who came to hear him were moved by his words and wanted to know what they should do. When some Roman soldiers came, they also wanted to live out what John was preaching and so they asked: “What should we do?” to which John replied, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely, be content with your pay” Luke 3:14. John called them to be content with their current pay. These words spoken 2000 years ago are just as applicable to us today, learning to be content is every bit a struggle in our culture as it was in theirs. So many of us seem to think we would be content if we just had a little more money. But if we never learn to be content with where we are or what we have we will always be chasing more. Why are you waiting to be happy? So many of us postpone happiness because we believe that until our situation changes or we have acquired a certain thing, we just can’t be happy. But happiness isn’t based on your happenings, it’s not based on what you have, or where you are, it’s who you are and how you respond to life that matters. If you have been sitting on the sidelines buying into and believing that you will be happy when…,” then you will never be happy, because when that condition is met there will always be more ready to take its place. If you are not content with less you will never be content with more. Today there are many trying to live in a world of “IF onlys.” If only I had this…. If only this were different…. If only I could do that…. If only this had not happened in my life….but it’s not a change of heading that we need it’s a change of heart. A question we need to ask ourselves is: “if we are not happy now with what we have then why would we want more of it?” We are a society that is constantly comparing and never content. In Matthew 20:1-15 Jesus told a powerful story that proves this very point. The owner of a vineyard went out early in the morning looking to hire workers for the day. Later he went and hired others in the afternoon, and still more in the evening. Each group originally agreed to a set wage but then the bible says, “That evening he told the foreman to call the workers in and pay them, beginning with the last workers first. 9 When those hired at five o’clock were paid, each received a full day’s wage. 10 When those hired first came to get their pay, they assumed they would receive more. But they, too, were paid a day’s wage. 11 When they received their pay, they protested to the owner, 12 ‘Those people worked only one hour, and yet you’ve paid them just as much as you paid us who worked all day in the scorching heat.’ 13 “He answered one of them, ‘Friend, I haven’t been unfair! Didn’t you agree to work all day for the usual wage? 14 Take your money and go. I wanted to pay this last worker the same as you. 15 Is it against the law for me to do what I want with my money? Should you be jealous because I am kind to others?” The workers who went out in the morning were pleased to work for a denarius, which was the standard pay for a day’s work. It was only when they started comparing their wage to others that they felt cheated; instead of being content with what they had agreed to they became angry. Their joy was replaced with resentment, comparisons breed contention and conflict. Our hearts and heads get filled with envious thoughts; we end up trying to juggle our sense of justice and jealousy instead of joy. We harbor grudges in our hearts which rob us of rejoicing, instead of contentment we end up feeling cheated. Comparison left these men mad because they felt like they had missed out. Their focus was on how it affected them and not on others. They ended up being bitter with their boss because he was kind and blessed others. Are you caught up in the comparison game that leaves you trying to keeping up but never measuring up? Pride is often at root of our pursuit for prosperity, not only do we like pleasure but we like people’s approval. But what if you stopped comparing your life to others and started caring about the things that Christ does. What if instead of living a restless life, always running but never arriving, you stopped running and started rejoicing. What if you stopped and recognized God’s hand of grace, what if you took the time to recall and remember the goodness of God? Are you comparing and complaining or counting your blessings content

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