To Be Contained

Kent Heaton

Whenever we want to contain something we enclose it within a specific area. This could be fencing in property, putting a precious item in a box or locking a door so children will not go out. The idea is to have something inside and limit the item under consideration. A fence is used for a boundary established to exercise a control of how far we desire something to be. The interesting use of the word "contained" is used as an earlier form of where the word "content" comes from. To be content is to build a fence and say that is as far as our desires will be. The content of a box is what is contained in a particular area. Understanding the important of contentment is to recognize the need to find containment of our desires.

The Bible is filled with admonitions for man to find his place in life with the things that he has. So many challenges face man when he does not want his desires to be contained within the sphere of where God shows is wisdom and peace. Always seeking more and more is the drive that brings sorrow and hurt. To have enough often is just a little bit more than what I have. We tear down the first fence and build it a little farther over and then when that does not satisfy we tear that fence down and build again. Lacking contentment is good for fence building but it does not bring peace.

"Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows" (1 Timothy 6:6-10). Being content is realizing that we take from this world what we brought in - nothing. Containing our desires to the necessary things of life (food and clothing) we will find happiness.

The Lord does not condemn riches but the failings that come from being discontent with life and seeking after more. When a man spends all his life to get ahead he finds in latter life he fell far behind the true worth of life. Wanting more is more wanting on our inner man that brings nothing but heartache. A man interrupted a sermon by Jesus in Luke 12 saying, "Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me." Jesus warned him, "Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses" (Luke 12:13, 15). His evil desire for more was not contained in the proper way. Jesus continues with the story of the fool who was not satisfied with his barns but wanted to build bigger barns to keep all his stuff in. That night he died and left it all - he took none of it with him.

In our materialistic world of wealth and opulence we have to have everything. The McGinis family tried keeping up with the Joneses but to no avail. "Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you'" (Hebrews 13:5). For the Christian it is allowing the Lord to build the fence and to be satisfied where He put it. Being content is to frame the heart with the grace of God and contain the desires within the love of Christ. "Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content . I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13,15).