Spiritually contented people realize that God blesses us all in the context of His greater plan. There is no need to worry over what we do not have. If we need it, God will deliver it.
Even though I know this, there are still moments when I struggle with contentment. My struggle does not come from comparing myself to others or chasing material possessions. My struggle comes when I can't easily identify God's plan in my life.
Not long ago, I felt called to a ministry in another state. This change required me to uproot my family and move across the country. It took significant faith to leave my known life for an unknown one. Everyone around me felt strongly that this work would be a major success and I felt the same. However, the ministry was unbearably slow to take off and I questioned many times if I was actually in line with God's plan for me and my family.
After a longer time than I wanted, my ministry flourished in ways I had not envisioned for its impact on the community.
My problem had been that I had failed to allow myself to experience the contentment that comes from pursuing His calling and was questioning why God was not working in my life on my time frame. My attitude was one that is shared by many people, including Christians. We fail to accept that our plan, or even our idea of His plan, may be different from what He has in mind.
He is the only one who can see the big picture of how we fit into the universe, while we don't even know what the next minute holds. He alone knows His plan.
Equally important as knowing that we are subject to His plan is being able to identify his blessings. Perhaps the story in the Bible that best illustrates the importance of recognizing blessings is in Luke 15. The story of the prodigal son is as much about the Father's reception of the prodigal son as it is about the admonishment of his older brother.
The older brother of the prodigal son felt his Father was unjust to have a big celebration for the son who had gone away and squandered money. The father rejoiced in the fact that the prodigal son had seen the error of his ways and had returned to the family. At the same time, the father had to remind the older son of his own gifts. He had forgotten about his own blessings.
Our Heavenly Father operates in a similar way. His love is so great that He sees past our transgressions. He has blessed all of us, not because we earned those blessings, but because of his grace and mercy. There are times in our lives when we feel like the prodigal son and others when we feel like the older brother. The Lord want us to remember that the fattened calf is waiting for us all.