Okay, this might not be a real “age old question” but it is a question that is asked frequently and has been for a long time, namely, is contentment “settling”? That three word question is the sermon title for these sermons and it springs from our Epistle lesson for today, 1 Timothy 6:6-19, feel free to click the link to read the whole passage.
There is something in many of us, especially when we are young, that bristles at the very notion of contentment, because being content means you have settled. And this makes sense. To settle is to give up. To settle is to say to yourself and to everyone that whatever is at the moment is the best it is ever going to be. To settle is to say that growth and development have ended. I said this makes sense but it only makes sense if being content is to settle . . . and it is not. Let me be perfectly clear about this; the answer to the sermon title question, “Is contentment ‘settling’?” is a resounding no, perhaps even a NO!
Contentment is an orientation toward the world that says God has provided everything I need for this moment, for this time. Settling is an orientation toward the world that says all that is left is to wait until I die. Contentment has loads of room for new things, new learning, new experiences. Settling says that everything new is behind me.
I can get a little exercised about this dichotomy because it was one I fell into as a younger person and it did no end of damage to me, you will hear various aspects of that part of my past in both sermons. I find it endlessly frustrating when I hear aphorisms such as “Never be satisfied” misapplied to the detriment of people. Never being satisfied isn’t a sign of being an innovator or an excellence pursuer, never being satisfied is a sign of a mental disorder that will destroy you if you let it.
Knox Presbyterian Is contentment “settling”?
St. Mark’s Presbyterian Is contentment “settling”?
PS These two sermons are long again, in fact the St. Mark’s sermon clocks in at 23:50 which makes it the longest sermon I have preached this Lectionary year. This is most certainly not the longest sermon I have ever preached but that is a story for another time. I mention this not apologetically or particularly proudly but more so you can plan accordingly. Different aspects arose in each sermon so if you do have the time I think it will be worth your while to listen to both of them.