Contentment is a difficult circumstance to achieve right now during the coronavirus pandemic. Some people worry about what will happen if the vaccine does not work; or if too few people are willing to be vaccinated. This is not a time for fear. We can rely on Christ to protect us. We know we can trust Him.
In 1 Timothy 6:1-7 (NASB) we can see that contentment is also closely tied with both godliness and honor.
“All who are under the yoke as slaves are to regard their own masters as worthy of all honor so that the name of God and our doctrine will not be spoken against. Those who have believers as their masters must not be disrespectful to them because they are brothers or sisters, but must serve them all the more, because those who partake of the benefit are believers and beloved. Teach and preach these principles.
If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a sick craving for controversial questions and disputes about words, from which come envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, and constant friction between people of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it, either.”
According to these verses, godliness “is a means of great gain” when partnered with contentment. With this association, we can infer that someone who struggles with contentment is actually contentions. Such a person may also face challenges with conceit, a lack of understanding, as well as “envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, and constant friction between people of a depraved mind”. This can be coupled with Titus 2:11-14; where we are called to be law-abiding and righteous:
“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all people, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously, and in a godly manner in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, eager for good deeds.“
The Lord’s grace and provision for us are also described in Titus 3:1-11:
“Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, to slander no one, not to be contentious, to be gentle, showing every consideration for all people. For we too were once foolish, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we did in righteousness, but in accordance with His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He richly poured out upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This statement is trustworthy; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and beneficial for people. But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and strife and disputes about the Law, for they are useless and worthless. Reject a divisive person after a first and second warning, knowing that such a person has deviated from what is right and is sinning, being self-condemned.”
Contentment with where we are (rather than deviation) is also reflected in Philippians 4:10-12 (NASB): “But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned before, but you lacked an opportunity to act. 11 Not that I speak from need, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with little, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.” As soldiers, you likely have first-hand training and/or experience with knowing how to make the most of what you have.
It is deeply important that as the coronavirus continues, that we strive for contentment rather than contempt.