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The “If” In Contentment and The Book of Haggai

February 20, 2012

“Now, therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways. You have sown much, and harvested little. You eat, but never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill. You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm. And he who earns wages does so to put them into a bag with holes.”   Haggai 1:5-6

The beginning of the book of Haggai has startling application for today. The original context was one in which the exiles had just returned to the promised land, yet were very slow to do what they should have done first – rebuild the Lord’s temple. Instead, their concerns were on their own households. They cared more for their own well-being than the worship of YHWH. The very thing that led them into exile was on repeat.

I read through the book of Haggai this past week with a deep sense that I am content in this life with a big, huge “IF” in my contentment. As we will see, there should always be an “IF” in our contentment, but the placement of it is crucial. Thoughts such as, “I will be content IF the Lord provides me with food to eat every day,” “I will be content with how much money I make “IF” the Lord never decides to have me be paid less than I am today.” But…what happens if the Lord decides to bring my family through a time when we are not able to eat everyday? What happens is I do not get paid the same wage I do today? Will there still be contentment in my life? And…what enters the picture when I answer that question? My own well-being, or the Lord’s? Is the Lord still being worshipped in the midst of my hunger or poverty? Then that should be my contentment. The things of this earth are fleeting. They are like someone who puts their wages in a bag with holes. The Lord is concerned for our physical contentment in this life…but not at the expense of our absolute worship of him in all his glory.

So, if this is true of me there still is a big “IF” in my contentment. The placement is very different, though. “”IF” the Lord is being exclusively worshipped in my life and the lives of those around me, then I will be content.” If not, there will be a holy discontentment that is as pleasing to the Lord as the words of the prophet Haggai were. Brothers and sisters, do not let the cares of this world run your contentment. They are unstable and untrustworthy. Let the song you sing be one that desires contentment in the praise of our Lord extending to the ends of the earth, no matter what our life circumstances bring.

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