A Lesson in Contentment…

The following is a guest post from Rob Kuban who writes at DollarsAndDoctrine.com.

“There’s nothing to eat,” I murmured to myself as I stood staring endlessly into my kitchen pantry. You know the position—arms braced on each side of the door, slightly leaning back gazing deeper and deeper into the dark recesses desperately hoping for something to appeal to my appetite. No luck. “Ehhhh, I am starving,” I muttered under my breath hoping perhaps the fridge would host greater luck. Then God spoke to me. As I was walking to the fridge, He urged me to look in the pantry again. The items listed below are the contents of my pantry at that moment of dispair:

4 Boxes of Cereal, 2 Containers of Oatmeal, Box of Pancake Mix, Large bag of Raisins, Bag Full of Leftover Christmas Candy, 1/2 Bag of Chips, 1/2 Bag of Beef Jerky, Peanut Butter, Craisins, Ready to make Soup, Jar of Roasted Peanuts, Box of Apple Cider Mix, Hot Chocolate Mix, Green Tea, Travel Coffee Singles, Honey, Syrup, Salad Dressing, Potato, 2 Sweet Potatoes, Nutella, Crackers, Cinnamon Raisin Bread, 2 Packages of Flour, 4 Varieties of Oil, Rice, Wheat, Coconut, Corn Syrup, Chocolate Chips, Nuts, Brown Sugar, Sugar, Baking Powder, Granola Bars, Canned Food: Chicken Noodle Soup, 3 Beef Broths, 1 Chicken Broth, Tomato Sauce, 2 Diced Tomatoes, Chili, Cream of Chicken, Cream of Mushroom Soup, Navy Beans, Green Beans, and Re-fried Beans, and Pumpkin.

Then it hit me: Is this what I have come to call an “empty” pantry? The realization left me humbled. I think we find ourselves surrounded by unimaginable levels of comfort, luxury, and ease, yet contentment still seems so elusive. A few days later I ran into this sermon quote by Charles Spurgeon:

“When men have too much of God’s mercies—strange that we should have to say this, and yet it is a great fact—when men have much of God’s providential mercies, it often happens that they have but little of God’s grace, and little gratitude for the bounties they have received. They are full, and they forget God; satisfied with earth, they are content to do without heaven. Rest assured, my dear hearers, it is harder to know how to be full than it is to know how to be hungry.” – Charles Spurgeon (Sermon No. 320)

While it seems strange, I believe Spurgeon is dead on. It is harder to be content when we have more. Sadly, it is too often the case that the more God blesses us the less we are thankful, and the more we crave. We fall into the lie that the “next” promotion, neighborhood, car, or tax bracket will finally satisfy our souls.

I challenge myself, and the rest of you, to begin the process of learning to be content (Phil. 4:11). It will not occur naturally, nor—as the evidence clearly indicates—will it be the fruit of a life filled with good things. Ironically, the accumulation of stuff drives our discontentment. May we all begin to see clearly the challenge contentment poses in prosperity, and cling to Christ for our ultimate fulfillment.

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9 Comments
  1. Mike Lutter

    I like this post a lot. I’ve often done the pantry-is-full-nothing-to-eat thing. It’s funny, the times that I do that it’s laziness to prepare anything. I just feel like a quick bit of junk food or something. There are starving people all over the world who would think of that cabinet as a bountiful feast but my attitude is so decadent.
    I’m glad you posted this, it’s a good bit of reality for us.

  2. Great eye-opening post! I do the pantry-is-full-nothing-to-eat thing all too often. Truly my wife and I are blessed to have what we do, now we just have to remember it!

    I’ll be embarking on a Minimalist Experiment starting at the end of this week. I want to pare down the distractions in my life so that I can focus on what is truly important. This includes helping me be thankful (and aware) of what all I really have.

  3. andrewbpaterson

    EXCELLENT WORD!
    I’ll refer back to this post once a month to make sure it reaches the very depth of my being.

  4. Mrs. DFx40

    Awesome. Just awesome.

  5. M. Joshua

    I got up last night, hungry. I started to raid the pantry. I found some bread. It looked like it was a special kind of bread that had white stuff on the crust. I loaded it up with peanut butter and took a bite.

    It turned out that white stuff was mold.

    Gross.

    Though, I’m all for contentment. 😉

  6. Linda

    Who else is convicted!?

    This makes me want to challenge myself to not buy anything from the grocery store until our pantry is indeed empty.

  7. Darren

    Wow, what a great, challenging article! You know what verse comes to my mind?

    “Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the LORD ?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.” Proverbs 30:8-9

    I hope I don’t ever get to the point of losing the sense of gratefulness and thankfulness…

  8. Shirley

    Wow. Very humbling and challenging. When I typed Christianpf in my web address bar today I did not expect to feel so convicted by such a brief article. But I am convicted. I am reminded of the lepers who did not stop or return to thank Jesus. I’d like to think I can be the one who remembers to thank Him.

    S

  9. Tiffany

    I praise God for this post, as I believe that it is confirmation. Just yesterday, I made a declaration that I would consciously practice gratitude this week. Now I understand that this is the right path: being content with God’s blessings. Indeed, it is easier to tell when you’re hungry than when you’re full. Thank you for this good Word!