Contentment. It is a state of attitude. The situation you find yourself in, and the attitude you have comes from a point of reference. It depends on where you look.
What I mean is, if you look at your situation (I don’t care what situation you find yourself in) only, pay attention to only what you are going through, then you may be tempted to complain and feel sorrow for yourself.
If you reach out and look outside of your situation, you will always find someone who has it MUCH worse off than your situation.
I believe that is one of the reasons that Christ mentioned caring for others that have more misfortune than yourself.
- “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because He has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed.” Luke 4:18
- “Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.” Luke 12:33
- “But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind.” Luke 14:13
- “‘Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.’ He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.” John 12:5
- “All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.” Galatians 2:10
- “Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need.” 1 Timothy 5:3
- “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1:27
- “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.” 1 John 3:17-18
When we look outside and find others that are suffering more than us, it does many things to us:
- We get a sense of compassion for others, which in turn makes it impossible to selfishly view our own situation in the same light.
- It makes us feel better as we take our eyes and energy off our ourselves.
- We find that we can help others regardless of how bad our situation is.
- We fall more into God’s will for our lives as we are reflecting His heart.
How can we (practically do this in today’s world). Believe me, it doesn’t just happen without determination. We live in bubbles, high fences in our back yards, garage doors that shut others out, we barely know our neighbors.
Our church has events where we help out the under-privileged in the community. This is a tremendous opportunity for us to get a different perspective while we help others that are having more difficult times that us.
For the past few years, our family connects up with the church to provide money for Christmas for a family that is going through tough times. It sends a message to my kids that it is about helping others, not just taking care of your own needs. We get a list of the kids in the family, their ages, and gender, and our kids shop for their kids. Believe me, it is an awesome learning experience.
There are many ways to reach out and help others. It will not just happen though. It takes effort and time, but I believe that it is more than worth it.