Rekindle My Contentment (Lent 17, 2016)

In the script from the movie Chariots of Fire, Harold M. Abrahams is preparing to run in his final race in the 1924 Paris Olympics. He addresses his fellow athlete, Aubrey Montague saying, “You, Aubrey, are my most complete man. You’re brave, compassionate, kind: a content man. That is your secret, contentment; I am 24 and I’ve never known it. I’m forever in pursuit and I don’t even know what I am chasing.”

Don’t you kind of wish your secret was contentment? It seems so elusive and even contrary to the American pursuit of individual excellence.

Is it possible to experience contentment even while being driven to your personal best?

What about Harold Abrahams made his drive and his passion not contribute to his contentment? I’d argue he lost sight of the goal. He didn’t know what he was chasing, even if he’d ever known it. It became chasing for the sake of chasing. Pursuing for the sake of pursuing. An addiction to a feeling of pursuit not a passion for a goal of eternal significance.

Thought 17Eric Liddell, on the other hand, was also on that Olympic team. Did he have passion and drive? Absolutely! Did he want to win? Sure, he did! What made his pursuit different?

When the drive to win was set alongside the goal of bringing glory to God through his life and his pursuits, he didn’t lose sight of the goal.

Even when it meant he couldn’t run the race he’d intended because of the qualifying heats on Sunday, which pitted his excellence and commitment as a runner against his excellence and commitment as a Christian. He had regrets at not participating, but no doubts about it. Therefore, God gave Liddell’s witness extra visibility and he was shown to be excellent both as a runner and as a witness.

What about you? Do you know contentment or are you forever in pursuit of a feeling?

Philippians 4:11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

Give it up for Lent: An endless chasing after what cannot satisfy

Questions for Phil 4:11-13

  1. According to Paul, is contentment found in circumstances?
  2. How ought this to inform our understanding of “giving something up” for Lent?
  3. In our culture, there are a lot of people who have an insatiable appetite. They chase after many things hoping to find themselves satisfied. Why aren’t they, no matter how much money they accumulate, how attractive their spouses, how quickly they climb the ladder of success or how many friends/followers they have on social media?
  4. Will the “leap day” today be different for you because it’s one more day? Or will it make no difference if you do the same old same old which won’t satisfy? How can you enter March with a heart for contentment?

ContentmentReKindle is the 2016 Lenten devotional series from Seminary Gal.

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Acknowledging that former years’ devotional series remain popular, Be Still and Know that I AM God can be obtained through the archives beginning in March 2014 and With Christ in the Upper Room  is archived beginning February 18, 2015.

Categories Articles and Devotionals, Devotionals | Tags: | Posted on February 29, 2016

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