In the past couple of months I’ve published several posts on ministry burnout (See Burnout). Last week I read two devotions written by Rick Warren “God’s Gifts for Now”, and “Life Is About Relationship, Not Acquisition” in it he wrote that the secret to contentment is to learn to enjoy what God has already given you. One of the reasons that we experience burnout is that we feel that we have to work and work and work to earn the things from God that will result in our enjoyment. Once we get them we think that we have to keep working so that we can enjoy them. We are never content and happy with the material spiritual blessings we receive through the gifts and talents He has given us.
While we will receive rewards, in eternity, for the things that we do in this life, the gifts, talents, and blessings from God are for us to enjoy for His glory now.
2 Corinthians 5:10 NIV For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.
Philippians 3:12-14 NIV Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 NIV Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
God’s Gifts for Now
By Rick Warren
“If God gives us wealth and property and lets us enjoy them, we should be grateful and enjoy what we have worked for. It is a gift from God” (Ecclesiastes 5:19 GNT).
The Bible says in 1 Timothy 6:17 that God “richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment” (NIV). That’s the kind of God we serve. He gave us the world for our enjoyment! But here’s the problem: We’re so busy getting more that we don’t enjoy what we’ve got.
The secret of contentment is to learn to enjoy what God has given you. Ecclesiastes 5:19 says, “If God gives us wealth and property and lets us enjoy them, we should be grateful and enjoy what we have worked for. It is a gift from God” (GNT). Pay more attention to what you do have. Open your eyes, appreciate what God has already given you, and enjoy what you’ve got.
One of my favorite things to do is watch the sunrise from the slope in our yard. I put a deck chair out there almost 20 years ago. I think I bought it at Target, so it’s not expensive. It’s faded, and a couple of its slats are broken. I love to sit in that ratty, old chair and watch the sun come up. It gives me great pleasure!
Would I have any more joy watching the sunrise if I were sitting in a diamond-encrusted Barcalounger instead of a ratty chair from Target? No. It would not increase my joy one bit. In fact, there is an advantage to not having a diamond-encrusted Barcalounger. It’s better to have a ratty chair on the slope. Why? Because nobody steals it!
You need to ask yourself, “What am I not enjoying right now?” Most of us get into what I call “when and then” thinking — “When this happens, then I’ll be happy.”
“When I get a boyfriend, then I’ll be happy.” “When I get married, then I’ll be happy.” “When I have kids, then I’ll be happy.” “When my kids go off to school, then I’ll be happy.” “When I get married again, then I’ll be happy.”
You are as happy as you choose to be. Happiness is a choice! If you’re not happy now, you’re not going to be happy later. I could take you to some of the worst places in the world and show you two people living right next door to each other. One is miserable, and one is happy. Why? Happiness has nothing to do with your circumstances. It has everything to do with your attitude. If you’re not happy living on what you’re living on right now, I can guarantee you that you’re not going to be happy with any more. Because you’re always going to want a little bit more.
Happiness is a choice. Choose to enjoy what God has given you right now for your enjoyment!
Life Is About Relationship, Not Acquisition
By Rick Warren
“But as for me, my contentment is not in wealth but in seeing you and knowing all is well between us. And when I awake in heaven, I will be fully satisfied, for I will see you face-to-face” (Psalm 17:15 TLB).
Life is not about things. You’ve got to maintain the right perspective about possessions, or you’ll be possessed by your possessions. You’ve got to realize none of it is going to last.
Jesus says in Luke 12:15, “Watch out and guard yourselves from every kind of greed; because your true life is not made up of the things you own, no matter how rich you may be” (GNT).
Never judge your self-worth by your net worth. Never think your value is related to your valuables. Realize that the greatest things in life aren’t things. You didn’t bring anything into the world, and you’re not taking anything out of it. Life is not about acquisition or achievement. Life is about relationship and learning how to love God and other people.
The best way to remember that your life is not about things is to build your life on eternal priorities. Focus on what will last forever. Every possession is temporary, so don’t build your life on acquiring possessions. Only two things are going to last forever: the Word of God and people.
You’ve got a choice to make. The world is telling you that you’ve got to get more to be happier, more successful, more important, more valuable, and more secure. You’ve got to decide if you’re going to listen to Madison Avenue or the Master. Are you going to listen to culture or Christ? Are you going to listen to the world or the Word?
One will make you dissatisfied the rest of your life; one will make you truly happy. Before you can move toward financial freedom, you have to ask yourself, “What is the primary purpose of my life? To just get more? What do I think about, talk about, and give my most to? What am I living my life for?”
There was a famous millionaire in Orange County who took her own life many years ago. At the funeral somebody said, “I don’t understand it. She had so much to live for.” I thought, “No. She had so much to live on. She had nothing to live for.”
You may have a lot to live on, but do you have anything to live for? Do you have a relationship with God? The myth of the world is that you can have it all. The truth is that you can’t have it all. And more importantly, you don’t need it all to be happy. You’re as happy as you choose to be.
The secret of contentment is finding your security and your satisfaction not in what you have but in whose you are. You find it in Christ.
Psalm 17:15 says, “But as for me, my contentment is not in wealth but in seeing you and knowing all is well between us. And when I awake in heaven, I will be fully satisfied, for I will see you face-to-face” (TLB).
Both devotionals © 2018 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
For more Daily Hope with Rick Warren, please visit pastorrick.com!
Contentment With Peace
Contentment will keep you from working yourself to into burnout, and cure it if you're already there.
Philippians 4:11-13 NIV I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 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. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
1 Timothy 6:6-10 NIV But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
And with this contentment comes peace.
John 14:26-27 NIV But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
Philippians 4:8-9 NIV Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
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Donald Jacobs is an ordained minister with the spiritual gift of teaching. He is the Associate Pastor of a non-denominational church in Los Angeles, CA.