"Godliness with Contentment"

We are not surprised at the unrest and discontent which are more than ever manifest in the lives of those that know not God. We are not surprised that the poor, who are not rich in faith, should cast envious and covetous eyes upon the possessions of those who seem more fortunately placed than themselves. But it is surpassingly strange if this spirit of discontent and covetousness should break out in the lives of those who have God as their Father. It is strange because it means that a rebellious will is at work, and that confidence in One who cannot make a mistake has grown feeble, and these are conditions which indicate ill health in the children of God. Yet undoubtedly this discontent is prevalent and is sapping the spiritual vitality of thousands who otherwise might be strong in the grace that is in Christ.

What is the remedy for this unhealthy spiritual condition? We know of only one. Confidence in God must be restored, and this can only be as we dwell afresh upon His great love and infinite wisdom. How wonderful are those words of the Lord, "Even the very hairs of your head are ALL numbered." Those small details of our lives that are too insignificant to be noticed by us, like a simple hair of our head, are matters of interest to God. It is wonderful that He who upholds the universe should be so minute in His care for those whom He loves. The knowledge of this and of the fact that His will is never against us but for us, should encourage us to wholly trust in Him.

"Godliness with contentment is great gain." To depend in simple trust upon God alone, and be satisfied with what He gives, must be great gain indeed, and yet — "Well, " says one, if I only had an income like Mr. — — I should be quite contented, and I could do a lot of good with it; and why should I be denied that which he has so abundantly?"

Hear a parable. A little child is attracted by the sight of a highly polished knife; it is so pretty to look at, it must be nice to possess, and he attempts to grasp it. But a watchful mother places it beyond his reach and under lock and key. But he whines and complains and asks, "Why can't I have the knife?" He is told that he would certainly hurt himself with it if it were given to him. But he persists in his complaint which is now very real to him, for he sees one in the hand of an elder sister, and why should he be denied what she is allowed to have? "My child", says the patient mother, "that which would be a dangerous weapon in your small and unskilled hands is a very useful thing in sister's hands, for see, she is cutting the loaf for your tea with it."

Earthly possessions are like that polished knife; if another has them, it is to use them to the glory of God, and if they are put beyond your reach it is because they would hurt you if you had them. Let your heart be happy and contented then, for God, who is your Father, knows what is best for you. "He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Yes, everything that He can give to us "with Him" He will, and that without a grudge.

But, say you, "Some Christians have wealth that they do not use for others' good, and it seems to hinder the progress of their souls." That is so; and do you desire to handle the weapon that is injuring them? Distrust of self would lead you to thank God that in the wisdom of a perfect love He has made it impossible for you to hurt your soul as others seem to be hurting theirs.

"Let your conversation be without covetousness, and be content with such things as ye have: for He hath said, I WILL NEVER LEAVE THEE, NOR FORSAKE THEE."

His company is better than broad acres and a large income. And if He hath said that He is with us, we may boldly say, THE LORD IS MY HELPER, AND I WILL NOT FEAR WHAT MAN SHALL DO UNTO ME" (Heb. 13:6).