On Sunday mornings I sit on the front row of the church. I remember one Sunday, standing during praise and worship, I looked back at how small the crowd was in that particular service. Inwardly, I was so frustrated! “Where is everyone? Why aren’t our people more faithful and committed? What am I even doing here at this church?”
I distinctly remember God speaking to my heart. “If you are more concerned about the attendance than you are worshiping me, then you have turned the crowd size into idolatry. You are here because I have called you here.”
The Holy Spirit always has a way of bringing us back to what is truly important. In that moment I repented of my idolatry, turned my attention back to the worship of Jesus, and thanked God for His calling on my life.
The experience caused me to pray about being more content with who I am, and where God has called me. Why is contentment in the ministry an ongoing struggle?
I don’t think contentment comes easy for any of us. Even the Apostle Paul said he “learned contentment” (Philippians 4:11).
Take a second and just think about this question: Are you content in your current ministry setting?
You may be struggling with contentment if…
I don’t believe contentment is an acceptance that things will always be this way. It’s not settling. Contentment is certainly not a lack of vision or initiative. It isn’t laziness either.
So, what is contentment? My wife recently asked me, “What would need to happen for you to find contentment?” Here are some things I’m working through…
1. I find contentment through fulfilling God’s unique calling on my life. I don’t have someone else’s calling, opportunities, leadership skills, or personality. I have my own calling.
2. I find contentment by being grateful that God has given me an open door of ministry. There are other ministers who would love to have the opportunities I have been given.
3. I find contentment by trusting that the Holy Spirit is working in people’s lives, though it may not be visible to me.
4. I find contentment by leaving the results of ministry to God. We plant and water, but God gives the increase.
5. I find contentment by recognizing that no level of “success” will ever truly make me content. I can’t say, “I’ll be happy and satisfied when…” It is simply not true.
6. I find contentment in refusing to compare myself to other pastors. I am not less “successful” because God is blessing another pastor’s ministry.
7. I find contentment in remembering how blessed I already am. Contentment is not having what you want, but wanting what you already have. It is the balance between working hard and yet leaving the outcome to God.
I like what my friend Dave Jacobs says, “Our contentment will be in direct proportion to the consistency and meaningfulness of our times alone with God.”
It’s true that in the quiet place of God’s presence we hear His voice. He guides and directs our lives. As we take steps of obedience and faithfulness, we are living in His will. Somehow, somewhere in this process we can learn contentment.
Will we ever arrive at true and complete contentment? Probably not. We will always live with the tension between “what is” and “what could be.”
For me, I'm learning to take steps towards more contentment in Christ...I'm finding it all starts with gratitude.
Comment Below: Has contentment been a challenge for you? How are you learning to be more content?
Hi! I'm Loren Hicks. I am follower of Jesus, a husband, a father, a friend, and for the past