Serial Reading of Young People’s Problems Chapter 28 – Learning Contentment (Part 1)

Serial Reading of Young People’s Problems

Chapter 28 – Learning Contentment – Part 1

We come to the last chapter of J.R. Miller’s invaluable instruction regarding Young People’s Problems. In this final chapter, he aims his exhortation at discontentment, that universal plague of the soul.

“Not many people are contented. Not many seem to think that discontentment is a sin. Not many appear to understand that contentment is a grace which should shine in every Christian character. Yet no grace adds more to the beauty and the comfort of a life, than contentment. It is also enjoined in the Scriptures as a duty.”

“The time to get this spirit into our life is in youth. If one has allowed thirty or forty years to pass in discontent and fretfulness, the habit is so firmly rooted, that it is almost impossible to change it. But if one begins in childhood to learn to keep sweet in all conditions and circumstances, by the time one has reached maturity — the habit has become so much a part of one’s very life, that it is easy to maintain it.”

Miller goes on to show how we are to traverse that fine line between godly and ungodly dispositions:

“Contentment does not mean satisfaction with one’s attainments. [It is an] indolent person who is one without noble aspirations and longings. The end of longing, is the end of growing.”

On the contrary, Miller continues, “Contentment, however, is the spirit of restfulness and peace in whatever circumstances one may be placed. Paul tells us what it meant in his life, when he says, ‘I have learned, in whatever state I am, therein to be content.’ The word content means satisfaction — and implies that he had in his own heart the secret of satisfaction, and was not dependent for it on any outside circumstances.”

“On a dark and stormy night a happy family gathers in the living-room of their home. On the table the lamp burns brightly. About the room the members of the household are grouped. There is gladness, conversation, song, cheer. The household is independent of the outside weather. Beat as the storm may upon the windows, it disturbs not their zest and gladness.”

“This illustrates the secret of contentment. A true family possess it in their own home, in themselves. Paul carried in his heart the secret of peace and of joy, and was not dependent upon circumstances. He wrote [his] insightful verse in a prison; but the prison atmosphere, hardship, and restraint did not affect his inner life of contentment.”

“Every Christian should have in himself the same secret. We are God’s children, and the strong Son of God is our Savior and Friend. Our life is hid with Christ in God. Our faith should lift us above the hard experiences of life. We may be in sorrow — but the sorrow should not break the inner divine peace. We may have suffering — but the suffering should not destroy the comfort we have in resting in God.”

“It is not our part to keep ourselves in peace — God’s part is the keeping; our part is the staying ourselves upon God.”

Find the full text on Grace Gems at: http://gracegems.org/Miller/young_peoples_problems.htm

Chapter 28 – Learning Contentment – Part 2

 (to be continued)

— Joe LoGiudice, Principal