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Sermon Illustrations: Contentment

Contentment has nothing to do with what you have, but everything to do with what you are. There was once a king who was very sick and whose wise men told him that if he covered himself with the shirt of a contented man, he would be healed. He sent his emissaries throughout the length and breadth of the country looking for a contented man. At last, several months later, they returned empty-handed. "Was there no-one in my realm who is contented?" asked the king. "Yes, Your Majesty," they replied. "Then where is the shirt?" asked the king. "Your Majesty, he had no shirt."


The grass is greener on the other side of the fence, but it still has to be mowed. James Dobson


A number of years ago, we went on a trip to Singapore and Malaysia. We were surprised by the number of ads for skin lightening lotions. Apparently, they see lighter skin as a sign of beauty. It's funny that in Australia we have the opposite problem - everyone wants a tan. If only we could be content with what we've got.


We were driving along on a country road, checking out the beautiful scenery. What caught my eye was the sight of four horses eating near each other. Two were on one side of a fence, and another two on the other side. What amused me was that they all had their heads poking through the fence and were eating the grass on the other side! They seemed just a like a lot of people I've met; never quite happy with what they've got.


When I was a boy, if my mother was pouring out soft drink for me and my brother, we would watch her like hawks. And if there was cake and one of us got one crumb more, the protests were immediately forthcoming: "It's not fair. He's got more than me." It must have driven my mother nuts.


A poor Christian woman, who was breaking her fast upon a crust and a cup of water, exclaimed, "What! All this and Christ too!"1


Discontent robs a man of the power to enjoy what he possesses. A drop or two of vinegar will sour a whole glass of wine. T. Watson2


A captain of a whale-ship told one of the wretched natives of Greenland that he sincerely pitied the miserable life to which he was condemned. "Miserable!" exclaimed the savage. "I have always had a fish-bone through my nose, and plenty of train-oil to drink: what more could I desire?"3


Who is more content? The man with $1million, or the man with twelve children? The answer is the man with twelve children, because he doesn't want any more.


It's 8 am, there's a knock on the door, and a guy gives you $100. You ask, "Why are you giving this to me?" He replies, "I just wanted to share it." That evening you're telling everyone. Next day at 8 am, there's the same guy knocking on your door and handing you $100. This happens every day for three weeks, and by then you're just waiting at the door. By the end of the seventh week, you're leaving an envelope at the door with a note scrawled on it: Leave money here. After three months, you go out and check the envelope and there's nothing there. The same thing happens the next day. On the third day, you're waiting at the door, and you see the guy walk past your place to your neighbour's house. "Hey, that's the wrong house," you yell. The next day it's the same. You shout, "Hey, he doesn't deserve that. What are you giving him the money for?" Eventually, you become angry and resentful that you are no longer getting something you didn't deserve in the first place. You took it all for granted. In the beginning, the sense of privilege was very high, but over time it diminished. You stopped being thankful and became susceptible to discontent.


1 Spurgeon, Charles H. My Sermon Notes Vol 1 p20
2 As quoted in Spurgeon, Charles H. My Sermon Notes Vol 1 p20
3 Spurgeon, Charles H. My Sermon Notes Vol 1 p20