Illustration: Contentment, Ambition

Chuck Swindoll writes, "You and I are afraid that if we open the door of contentment, two uninvited guests will rush in: loss of prestige and laziness. We really believe 'getting to the top' is worth any sacrifice. To proud Americans, contentment is something to be enjoyed between birth and kindergarten...retirement and the rest home...or (and this will hurt) among those who have no ambition.

"Stop and think: A young man with keen mechanical skills often is counseled against being contented to 'settle' for a trade right out of high school. A teacher who is competent, contented and fulfilled in the classroom is frowned upon if she turns down an offer to become a principal. The owner of Super-Duper Hamburgers on the corner has a packed-out joint every day, but chances are selfish ambition won't let him rest until he opens 10 other joints and gets rich—leaving contentment behind.

"Now, listen to Jesus: 'Be content with your wages' (Luke 3:14). Hear Paul: 'I am well content with weaknesses,' and, 'If we have food and covering...be content!' (2 Corinthians 12:10; 1 Timothy 6:8). Hear another apostle: 'Let your character be free from the love of money, being content with what you have' (Hebrews 13:5).

"I warn you: This isn't easy to implement. You'll be outnumbered and outvoted. You'll have to fight the urge to conform. Even the greatest of all the apostles admitted, 'I have learned to be content' (Philippians 4:11). It's a learning process...and it isn't very enjoyable marching out of step until you are convinced you're listening to the right drummer. When you're fully convinced, however, you'll be free, indeed!"

(Dallas Seminary Daily Devotional, 12/2/03)