As followers of Christ we are leaders in our everyday lives. Wherever we are, whoever we are with – we have the opportunity and call to point them to Christ. Contentment is a quality of everyday Christian leaders because it means we trust God’s authority over and directing of our lives. The contented Christian rests in Christ’s sufficiency with gratitude for all He provides. Therefore, our focus is on magnifying God’s Kingdom rather than our own.
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, when one is contented one is “feeling or showing satisfaction with one’s possessions, status, or situation.”[ref] https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/contented[/ref]
This person isn’t vying for attention, money, or power. Nor is this person attempting to make others feel inadequate through social media manipulation. Rather, this person is at peace. But how? It is not in our nature to feel content. Some might argue that to be content is to be lazy, lacking drive and ambition. But this is not the case for disciples of Christ. Paul spoke of finding contentment in his life. He was anything but lazy or lacking drive. His ambition was for God’s glory (2 Corinthians 5:9 NASB). Yet he also discovered the key to contentment, Christ’s enabling strength (Philippians 4:11-13).
Like the apostle Paul, Jesus-followers today can practice contentment. They practice it in regard to their position, their possessions, and their relationships with other people.
1. Content in Position
Amber Riggs describes the everyday Christian leaders as one who is,
Jesus-followers are content in their position because they are in submission to God. - Caitlin Meadows Click To Tweet
…Content to lead from their current position of authority.
Reflecting the character of Christ, these leaders focus on lowering themselves, not lifting themselves up. They know that making power-plays for authority will weaken their Christian influence instead of deepening it. Thus, they respectfully allow themselves to be led by those who are in positions of authority over them. While these leaders may sense that God plans to increase their position of authority, like David, they do not try to accelerate God’s plan. Instead, they demonstrate leadership and increase in their qualities as a leader in their current roles.[ref] 10 Qualities of Influential Christians[/ref]
Jesus-followers are content in their position because they are in submission to God. Culture says to self-promote. It tempts us to live for self and envy those who seem to be doing better by worldly standards. However, according to James 3:16 these selfish pursuits only lead to evil. Contrary to the world’s way, the everyday Christian leader is not distracted by the pursuit of power, climbing whatever figurative ladder they can to achieve personal glory.
Whether or not they possess a leadership title, they know that through Christ they are leaders in their daily spheres of influence. Therefore, the stay-at-home parent and the CEO alike are content to lead where God has them. Should a person have a million followers on Youtube or the simple attention of a classroom full of students in elementary school, they are equally submitted to God. Ultimately, they find contentment with their position of influence because of the One to whom their life points.
2. Content in StewardshipThe content leader finds satisfaction in God's presence, not in earthly possessions. - Caitlin Meadows Click To Tweet
Jesus-follower are content with what they possess materially because they know it doesn’t belong to them in the first place. Rather, all they have belongs to God. Disciples of Christ are under God’s authority and provision. The contented everyday leader knows that it is God who provides all that is needed and so much more (Matthew 6:25). Jesus said to seek first His Kingdom and righteousness (Matthew 6:33). Rather than envying those who have more or better and focusing on the next best thing, the content Jesus-follower operates as a grateful manager of God’s resources. His or her satisfaction is found in the presence of God (Psalm 16:11), not the possessions of this world.
The anitidote for discontentment.
The antidote for discontentment is gratitude. As Rachel Cruz puts it in her book, Love Your Life, Not Theirs: 7 Money Habits for Living the Life You Want:
There is no room for discontentment in a heart filled with gratitude.[ref]Rachel Cruz, (2016). Kindle location 552. Love Your Life, Not Theirs: 7 Money Habits for Living the Life You Want. Ramsey Press: Nashville, Tennessee.[/ref]
Gratitude for what we have and for all that we’ve been spared from encourages satisfaction. In this life there will always be the next best thing, if that is where we choose to focus our ambition. But we know that our treasures are in heaven (Matthew 6:19-21). As a result, we can and should possess gratitude for all the ways God has chosen to bless us. This attitude frees us to enjoy each moment rather than anticipate how much better the next could be if we had fill-in-the-blank. The contented everyday Christian leader chooses to count the blessings afforded by God, knowing he or she is rich in Christ. And that is all that really matters.
3. Content in Relationships
Jesus-followers are content in their relationships with other people because of their relationship with the Lord. We are instructed to regard others more highly than ourselves (Philippians 2:3), to love our neighbors (Mark 12:31) and our enemies (Matthew 5:43-45). Jesus set the ultimate example of servanthood through His life and His death. He led through lowering Himself in service of others through teaching, healing, forgiving, and even washing the feet of His disciples. Jesus could not be distracted by the temptations of self-promotion because His mission was to rescue and restore the lost, dying humanity He loved.We can be content to lead relationally through selflessly serving those around us. - Caitlin Meadows Click To Tweet
Like Jesus, we can turn our focus to the Kingdom of God and not be distracted by the temptations of self-promotion we face. We can be content to lead relationally through selflessly serving those around us.
Loving others through contentment.
Hannah Hurnard eloquently spoke of this kind of relational contentment when she described Christian love:
Love is not a feeling. It is an overmastering passion to help and bless and deliver and comfort and strengthen and give joy to others just as the Lord Jesus… It is an attitude of will. I will cast myself down in giving. The lower I go the more love I am able to transmit from God to others, just like the Lord of love Himself who was not content until He found and took the lowest place in the universe.” [ref]Hannah Hurnard, 1975 (294). Hinds Feet On High Places.Tyndale House Publishers, Inc: Carol Streams, IL.[/ref]
Can you imagine how different our experiences would be if we truly loved this way? If through abandon to the Lord we let Him love through us? Unfortunately, we don’t love this way. Because we still struggle to live content.
Struggling to Find Contentment?
The struggle is real. I know it can’t just be real for me. Isn’t this something we all deal with on a regular basis? We imagine we’ll be satisfied when such-and-such finally happens. Or when we acquire the latest, greatest gadget, vehicle, home, clothes, etc. But it is an endless pursuit. Even as Christians, we unintentionally lose sight of our true Source of contentment. Thankfully, He never loses sight of us.
When we feel the pull of envy, the sting of dissatisfaction, or the appeal of entitlement we can turn our focus back to Jesus. It’s not just okay to admit to Him that we’re feeling discontent. It’s necessary. He already knows. We just need to confess it. And when we do, He will strengthen us to surrender our desires once more. In His presence, abiding in Him our hearts will be at peace. We will experience fullness of joy, pleasure that lasts. He is our satisfaction. His glory is our goal. Everything else fades away but His Kingdom and honor are eternal.
Want to learn more about the qualities of everyday Christian leaders? Here are some resources for you:
- Read 10 Qualities of Influential Christians
- Read Why You Should Care About Theology
- Get Artios Christian College’s free download of Discovering Your Leadership Strengths
- Enroll in Artios Christian College’s introductory course: Essentials of Vibrant Leadership
- Always More to Learn: An Interview with Karen Stacy - November 18, 2019
- Choosing Obedience: An Interview with Andrea Slawson - November 11, 2019
- 3 Areas Everyday Christian Leaders Practice Contentment - May 14, 2019