HJ-ED-DHJHerald Journal Columns
November 20, 2006, Herald Journal
Pastor's Column

True contentment

Pastor Paul Marggraf, Mt. Olive Lutheran Church, Delano

“I’ll be happy when I’m in kindergarten.” “I’ll be happy when I have a room of my own.” “I’ll be happy when I can afford a new car.” “I’ll be happy when I find Mr. Right.” “I’d be happier if I were prettier.” I’d be happy if I had a decent job.” “I’d be happy if I could afford to travel more.”

My “ifs” and “whens” come and go, and I’m still not very happy. Yes, ‘Godliness with contentment is great gain’ as St. Paul says (1 Timothy 6:6), but so hard to come by. In a couple of days, most of us will sit down at a table groaning under the weight of wonderful food and drink. We will eat our fill, push away our plates, and be totally content — for about 20 minutes.

It is the very nature of our human hearts to be content for only short stretches of time. And for us Americans, who experience more blessings and pleasures than most, those stretches seem to be getting shorter and shorter all the time. On the other hand, consider St. Paul. He learned how to be content in all circumstances — rich or poor, hurting or happy.

What is the secret of contentment? The old church father, Augustine, knew it. He had tried out everything (and I do mean everything) in his search for contentment. But nothing satisfied. He was still restless.

Finally, the Lord led him to realize that the soul is not at rest until it rests in God. After all, every good and perfect gift comes from Him. And the best gift is the Giver himself.

As you get up from your heavily-laden tables this Thursday, rejoice not just in your material prosperity, but in your Savior God. You have been bought with the price of Jesus’ blood. Now, Jesus is yours, dwelling in your hearts, planning your lives for your earthly and eternal good.

So, find a quiet spot sometime this Thanksgiving holiday and reflect on deeper blessings than “bird and berries.” Reflect on blood shed, mercy given, forgiveness won, heaven open — for you. Reflect on the Giver, who has given himself.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

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