Content to Relent
Tags: Church Growth, Church Growth Movement, Church growth consultants, worship leader, conservative, liberal, Conservative Christian, Conservative Christian theology, Evangelical, evangelism, post modern church, modernism, praise and worship, hymns, hymn singing, C S Lewis, Satan, Apostle Paul, Thomas Chisholm, Billy Graham Crusades, Fanny Crosby, To God be the Glory, Blessed Assurance, Johann Sebastian Bach, Bach
The worship of the creation is the reason why people
fail to seek God for their hope and strength. Creation worship all translates into the
desire for things. Take for example the contemporary bumper sticker that says, The
man who dies with the most toys wins. This sends us back to the times of ancient
C.S. Lewis once stated that inside every human being lies a God-shaped void that can only be filled by God Himself. People attempt to fill this void with pleasure, success and every imaginable thing. But it is all to no avail. Only God can fill this void and the effort to fill it with everything else only leads to futility.
Yet as people continue to inflate themselves with things and more things, they only find that these things bring them nothing. The answer must be, therefore to attain more. But nothing is ever enough because they are trying to satisfy themselves with something that can only be fulfilled by God.
But godliness with contentment is great gain. (I Tim 6:6 NIV) For the person who never is content with what he has, possessing everything never satisfies. Rather than praising God for what he has received, he is always clamoring for more. He always seeks more toys or a bigger church with a larger influence, bigger staff and ministries to boot. He wants to be just like the big dogs. Ambition is what becomes the driving force in these cases; the same ambition that caused Satan to fall because he chose to worship self rather than his Creator.
Contentment is a horse of a different color. And it not the same as apathy. In fact, apathy actually ushers from just the opposite dynamic. A lack of contentment is the result of anxiety and, because the stress that comes out of anxiety cannot be endured forever, the ultimate result is finally submitting to I dont care. This is apathy carries with it very dangerous consequences if adopted by the body of Christ.
However, content people do care. They care enough to give it all over to God in prayer and thanksgiving. Nobody cared more about the future of the church than Paul did. Nonetheless he declared from prison, . . . for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Phil 4: 11b-13 MKJV)
Bach was one who clearly demonstrated contentment in his worship. Throughout his career as cantor of Thomaschule, Bach was plagued with menial tasks. His primary responsibility was to pump out music for the ravishing appetite of the churches. He was also assigned such lowly and unrelated chores as teaching grammar to the schoolboys. Though he was admired by many, in his own time Bach never gained fame as a result of the music that he cranked out week-after-week. However, he was particularly noted as an organ player and was constantly asked to inspect new organs and give their dedication recitals. Organ students came from all over the country to be trained in his demanding technique and rigorous improvisational freedom.
In spite of where one is placed by the Lord, he never knows what will become of the unique place in which he is divinely positioned. As the doldrums of continual monotony and apparent obscurity exasperate your spirit, remember that the constant chore of daily obedience to one's calling is what produces everlasting fruit in God's kingdom. As Bach continued to keep up with the arduous pace, he managed to produce the largest repertoire of organ works yet known. No master of music has produced the volumes that Bach did. And thats just considering his organ pieces. These works are the standard by which all other organ works are measured, and they are played daily throughout the Western world.
The inspiring hymn Great is Thy Faithfulness, one of the most popular of all time, remains a tribute, not only the faithfulness and provision of God, but Gods extraordinary use of the most ordinary people. Thomas Chisholm was an insurance salesman, and an unhealthy one at that. When he was seventy-five he wrote, My income has not been large at any time due to impaired health in the earlier years which has followed me on until now. Although I must not fail to record here the unfailing faithfulness of a covenant-keeping God and that He has given me wonderful displays of His providing care, for which I am filled with astonishing gratefulness.
He spent his life selling life insurance and submitting his poetry to Christian magazines. Some were rejected, some accepted and none ever gave him much money. Yet this humble artist eventually penned some of the greatest lyrics in hymn history in the song, Great is Thy Faithfulness. The hymn really didnt attain any real notoriety until it was popularized worldwide at the Billy Graham Crusades. Then it took off. It is certain to be sung by congregations throughout the world for decades upon decades to come. Indeed, God is faithful! Over his lifetime Chisholm wrote 1,200 poems and hymns. Not bad for having a day job.
An incompetent doctor left Fanny Crosby
blind at six weeks of age. In spite of that handicap she became one of the most prolific
songwriters in Christian history.
Ultimately she concluded, It seemed intended by the blessed providence of God that I should be blind all my life, and I thank him for the dispensation. If perfect earthly sight were offered me tomorrow I would not accept it. I might not have sung hymns to the praise of God if I had been distracted by the beautiful and interesting things about me.
Many of the songs that she wrote contained a verse that looked forward to her first day in eternity when she would finally see. And on that day her Lord was to be the first One that her unfettered heavenly eyes would behold. With that in mind she wrote, Our Wonder, our transport when Jesus we see! This blind lady could see quite well.
You never know what God has in store for you. But you do know what He has called you to do. As a worshipper you are to be faithful to whatever God has given you. And those who are content will discover the riches of Gods blessing that wait outside the door of all of those who chose to willingly and faithfully serve Him wherever He has put them. His lord said to him, Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord. (Matt 25:21 MKJV)
You will not be able praise God in your daily life unless you have learned to be content. If you have not learned to daily praise God you will never know the fullness of what it is to live in Christ. Without the praise that comes out of contentment you cannot grow. And if you are a pastor of a church, your church will never prosper as it should.
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