Contentment is the joy of being satisfied with what God has given you. It should be the goal of every Christian. Contentment is what the Apostle Paul was really talking about in Philippians 4:13 – “I can do [endure, handle, accept, deal with] all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Paul had learned to be content with what God was doing in his life whether things were going well or getting rough. But as fallen creatures, our sin natures are prone to being dissatisfied and bitter and complaining. We tend to look at our lives and always think about how they could be better. We want what we don’t have and are not happy with what we do have. This sinful attitude and mindset is what today’s passage in Proverbs is warning us about.
Complaining comes in many forms. Adults complain about the quality of other people’s work – waiters, sales associates, contractors, and yes, teachers – to the workers’ bosses (Proverbs 30:10) as well as their own family and friends. Parents also complain about how other parents are doing or not doing their jobs of raising their children well. As students, you complain about your own parents (v. 11), teachers, coaches, and classmates, while being blind to your own sins and shortcomings (v. 12-13). You see, adults and students alike all struggle with discontented hearts that pour forth ugly, proud, and mean comments and gossip (v. 14). But the fault in our attitudes and speech is not the result of other people. The real problem is our own inability to be satisfied with how God has seen fit to bless us. The bitter complainer is never happy no matter how great things are going for them. Such people are like leeches with mouths on each end of their bodies, constantly wanting more blood (v. 15). They are like graveyards that always want more bodies, like women without children always wanting a baby, like dry earth craving rain, and like fires that always want more fuel (v. 16). They just cannot be made happy.
But as Christians, we can choose to be happy. We can choose to stop complaining and instead give thanks for all of the good things that God has given to us. Even when our circumstances really are pretty bad, we can always celebrate our salvation. The fact that we have been loved and accepted by God, adopted into His family, and given an eternal home in heaven can give us joy even in the middle of great trials like illnesses, family conflicts, and money troubles. Let’s choose to rejoice today and be content instead of complaining.
The Text (Proverbs 30:10-16)
10 Do not malign a servant to his master, Lest he curse you, and you be found guilty.
11 There is a generation that curses its father, And does not bless its mother.
12 There is a generation that is pure in its own eyes, Yet is not washed from its filthiness.
13 There is a generation—oh, how lofty are their eyes! And their eyelids are lifted up.
14 There is a generation whose teeth are like swords, And whose fangs are like knives, To devour the poor from off the earth, And the needy from among men.
15 The leech has two daughters— Give and Give!
There are three things that are never satisfied, Four never say, “Enough!”:
16 The grave, The barren womb, The earth that is not satisfied with water—And the fire never says, “Enough!”
Questions to Think About
- Do you include thanksgiving as part of your daily prayer life? Why not start your prayer time each day this week by thanking God for at least three specific blessings? If you have trouble coming up with stuff to be thankful for, then ask God to help you!
- When are you most likely to struggle with a complaining attitude? What tends to trigger complaints in your life? How can you start handling those temptations to complain better than you have in the past?
- Have you thanked God recently for your own salvation? Take some time this week to reflect on how much worse your life would be without Jesus and how much better it has been with Him. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself more content along the way!