It came blurting out as I talked with my roommate – “I just always wonder, are they actually content or just comfortable?”
We were talking about boys, obviously. The recurring theme of our lives is meeting boys who are “content” in their singleness – not in a rush to find a girl.
I get it, I really do. It is great to be content – Scripture tells us to be content in all circumstances. I am proud of and happy for friends who are truly experiencing contentment in their situation.
My beef with that comment is that I don’t believe we usually mean contentment. I think we mean comfort. I think we mean: life is fine the way it is and I don’t want to mess with it. We have devalued the idea of contentment, and made it a loose term similar to settling, quitting, or some equivalent of, “nah, man, I’m good.”
There is a strong difference between these two words:
- Comfort: a state of physical ease and freedom from pain or constraint
- Contentment: a state of happiness and satisfaction
They might seem the same at first glance. But here is the crucial difference: While comfort is happiness based on the absence of pain, contentment is happiness all on its own. To find contentment in our circumstances is not equivalent to ease.
Paul says, “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.” (Philippians 4:12)
We as modern day people, and especially as Americans, are Kings and Queens of comfort. We believe we deserve comfort in every form. For Heaven’s sake, some of my students complained about having to go on a RETREAT. Do I need to define retreat for you? I’m going to: A place of refuge. Don’t whine to me about being “required” to go to a place of refuge. You will find no sympathy here.
I digress. My next point:
Who in the world is actually seriously thinking that Donald Trump for POTUS is a good idea?
I really cannot wrap my mind around it, and am certainly relieved that I have yet to meet one person in the good state of Colorado who would consider voting for him. But really people, the joke was never funny to begin with and it certainly isn’t now. Ashton Kutcher, you and Mr. Trump can jump out now and yell, “You’ve been PUNK’D America!” and we will breathe a sigh of relief and probably slap you across the face.
But seriously, we are so hungry for comfort that we would really consider electing Donald Trump as president just because he’s the “devil we know?” Or maybe, it is because he has what we want – comfort. He is one of the wealthiest men in the world, his net worth estimated at FOUR BILLION DOLLARS.*
Yet in all this time he has offended more people than he has won over. The man is living a life of relational poverty. Not what we need in a leader.
Another rabbit trail of sorts, but all this to say – we claim contentment but we live for comfort. And Church, might this be why the rest of the world seems to despise us? I have two challenges for us as Christ-followers.
1. We are too consumed with ourselves, our comfort and personal wellbeing, and not concerned near enough with the needs of the world around us, the world that Jesus left in our care.
The good news is, we can change that right this very moment – consider stepping out in one of these ways?
- Support Syrian Refugees: http://wewelcomerefugees.com/
- Aid Children in Iraq: http://www.preemptivelove.org/
- Prevent Sex Trafficking: https://notforsalecampaign.org/donate/
- Help the Homeless IN OUR CITY: https://www.denverrescuemission.org/
Give. Serve. Love. Volunteer. Go. Be the Church.
2. We get mad at God for not giving us comfort, when He has always told us that He desires for us to be content. Could it be that we have put unrealistic expectations on the life of a Christian?
My dearest, beautiful, amazing, favoritest single friends (and everyone else, too) – might we claim contentment when really we are just comfortable? I dare you to consider this – learning to be content still requires risk, still requires lacking, still requires struggle. To be comfortable is to avoid all these except one – the risk of missing the very best. The life that God intended. And that is the worst risk of all.
May we learn to be truly content, not just comfortable, whether married or single, rich or poor, employed or unemployed, healthy or sick, so on and so forth. May we walk in the riches and comfort of knowing who we are in Christ, and depend not on earthly status, possessions or ease.
And may I be so bold, as to challenge you boys to maybe take a risk, and consider that you juuuust might find overwhelming contentment in a relationship with a Christ-following lady? (: It won’t be comfortable, but we’re worth it. Promise.
I’ll leave you with these pictures:
One thought on “contentment versus comfort.”
This was such a blessing. I was struggling with the difference between the two and you captured the point. I came up short when I thought that it was, “Doing something to appease self that is outside of given guidelines and practices; but it has nothing to do with boundaries.
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