Finding “the rare Jewel of Contentment” 💎
It’s been almost a year, shy one week since we’ve been on our 45-year-old sailboat. For an entire year, there just never seemed to be a warm enough stretch to get out on the water. But August is Ross’s month off from the church, and wrapping up a summer of conference after conference, we found ourselves for two nights in slip A-13 at the highly rated and somewhat exclusive summer spot of Arabella’s Marina in Gig Harbor.
Our first day there was quiet. For much of that day no one on either side of us. Finally, a brand-new cruiser pulled in with a couple and their 8-year-old only child. About 18 hours later a perfectly appointed 40-foot sloop motored into the slip on our other side, and about 20 minutes later a 45-foot yacht hummed into the slip on the other side of the sloop.
“Kinda feels like we’re the Beverly Hillbillies surrounded by all these brand-new boats.” Ross sighed.
Our beloved 1978 30-foot sailboat donning my name on the curtains below from its birth 45 years earlier is just that, beloved. Albeit a bit worn around the edges. This year the Bimini ordered for over the cockpit came in the wrong size, so it looked a little funny trying to stretch to the much larger size of the frame, and the curtains we velcro on it to keep the sun off in the late afternoon looked all cattywampus flapping in the breeze. Then the assortment of sun faded paddles, boat hooks, and a brand-new buoy snatcher, up against the crab pot … well, let’s just say, the “Tertian Quid” has been well worn and well used in comparison to everything around us!
It wasn’t long before the enemy started whispering in my year, ‘Yep, you are a hillbilly! You don’t belong here … in fact you look like riff raff.” My mood seemed to sour before I realized what ole slew foot was up to. Trying to get my focus off what I was grateful for, just being on the water after such a long time, with sun shining and a lovely breeze stirring. Having down time with my hubby after a busy summer of travel. All the facts I was praising God for went out of my mind as I looked around me … every direction were new boats, glistening in the sun, reflecting on the water, with young and middle aged, beautiful people on them.
I called in some spiritual support as I recognized what was happening. My text to my two closest friends called in some 911 prayers – “Girls, please pray for me! The enemy is tempting me to be offended by a bunch of stuff on Facebook … AND we feel like Hillbillies here at the marina surrounded by beautiful new boats!”
As they bombarded heaven on my behalf, they also reminded me:
You may not have the newest boat, but the view of the water is just as spectacular. 😘 Rest there.
Absolutely praying for you! The enemy will do anything to distract you and keep you from rest and renewal.
This morning in my extended quiet time in the motorhome overlooking the bay at Port Townsend I pulled out a devotional that had begged me to bring it along. With a true classic feel, burgundy clothe over the cover boards with gold leaf stamping on the elegant front cover. A ribbon to mark my place. All the intricacies of a well-crafted book. The author was one of the keynoters at Write to Publish, Leland Ryken, who was the professor of English at Wheaton College for nearly fifty years. The book, The Heart in Pilgrimage: A Treasury of Classic Devotionals on the Christian Life. As I scanned the table of contents noting some of the works included Augustus, John Calvin, Jonathan Edwards, Charles Spurgeon, Martin Luther and more.
“The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment” by Jeremiah Burroughs leapt off the page at me.
You who often will worship God by hearing and praying, and yet afterwards will be discontented – know that God … will (rather) have the soul’s worship, the subjecting of the soul unto God. In active obedience, we worship God by doing what pleases God; but by passive obedience we do as well worship God by being pleased with what God does …
So, there is nothing outside us that can keep our hearts in a steady, constant way, but grace within the soul … Exercise much faith; that is the way for contentedness … Exercise faith by often resigning yourself to God, by giving yourself up to God and His ways. The more you surrender up yourself to God in a believing way, the more peace and quiet you will have. Labor to be spiritually minded. That is, be often in meditation of the things that are above. “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sits on the right hand of God.” (Col. 3:1) …
There’s so much more to say on this topic, I think this might be the start of a series in my weekly newsletter on Christian Contentment. As I reflect back on the way I felt looking at what others had and feeling less than, conviction washes over me once again as I repent to the Lord for my lack of contentment and misdirected focus.
Have you had that happen in your life? Not only feeling discontent with what you have, but even letting it go so far as to covet what someone else has? How did God teach you through that struggle? I’d love to hear.
Thanks for spending some time with me today!
Welcome, I'm Athena!
I start each day by tithing the first hour to the Lord in prayer, reading the word, doing word studies of the Text, and asking God how I can live out what I am reading. This time is usually met with meditation on devotionals that are usually written by dead guys like Oswald Chambers, CS Lewis, Charles Spurgeon, AW Tozer, and Andrew Murray.
Right now, I’m reading a daily devotional with a friend called Tozer on the Almighty God for my focus for the day. It's fun to see individually what pulls us in to spur one another on to good deeds!
The Bible is filled with action steps to walk out in practical and intentional ways. This sets my day in motion to walk it out! I hope this is your heart, too.
Consider this a personal invitation to join me in this journey!