Question: What’s the difference between Complacency and Contentment?

Check out this passage: Matthew 25:14-30 In short it’s about three stewards given varying amounts of gold. Two of them put the gold to work and doubled their Master’s profits. One just buried it in the ground until the Master came back. The Master promoted the first two stewards and kicked the third one out.

I think complacency is an attitude with no hopes/dreams/ambitions etc…you’re not even going to try. You’ve buried the gold in the ground. If the bags of gold given by the Master to His servants represents the skills, passions, abilities and resources God has given to each of us…and God has given us varying amounts (not just in finances, but also in ability/skills/passion/etc)…then He still intends and is pleased with us when we GROW it from what it used to be. Even if it’s minimal growth (i.e. putting the gold in the bank and gaining interest on it).

So what is Contentment?

In chatting with Dahn, she offered a great thought about contentment possibly be understanding that we lack nothing. Reminds me of a quote that says something like, “Wealthy are those who have the least to lose“….and maybe that’s what contentment is too. Knowing the more we’ve been entrusted with means the more God expects of us to do something with it. And of course, knowing it’s not about just desiring nothing as to not have to try in life (hence being complacent). Rather, with whatever you have been given, you are meant to grow it, and whatever you have not been given, is less to worry about. So we can be thankful and enjoy that too.

Or maybe contentment is also having loosely cupped hands. So if God gives, He gives and we do our best with it. We are STEWARDS of everything we have, not owners, and we can’t see what skills/abilities/passions God might have given someone else. Monetary things are just one facet of the whole thing. We can’t and shouldn’t compare what He has given or withheld from others. And if God takes away, a content person wouldn’t require Him to pry it away…it won’t break our hearts, it won’t make us try to grasp at/cling to/hang onto it.

Back to growing what we’ve been given…there is a danger of striving after growth as an end in itself. Ambition can become obsessive and destructive to yourself and others around you. Maybe the focus is whether the growth we’re seeking is for our own sake/glory or if it’s for the Kingdom. Are we looking to say “I” did it….or to say God this is for you? Can we give it ALL back to God if He asked for it or do we want to hang on? And if we can’t give it back freely….then it’s a flag that greed or selfish ambition has taken hold and we need to confess and pray for freedom from that.

In our sermon series at church…talking through Money, Sex, Power….everything needs to go through the filter of

Does this lead to a right relationship with God?
Does this lead to right relationship with Others?
Does this lead to right relatedness with Creation?

So, if growing that talent/passion/ability/skill/resource can be a Yes to all three questions, then by all means, do it whole heartedly, joyfully and freely give back to God. If we can be in plenty or be in want and still freely praise or give to God with a thankful spirit…then I think that’s Contentment.

What do you think the difference is between Complacency and Contentment?

One response

  1. I like the part about not making ambition become the end of things…..and how ambition can lead us to astray.
    What would you say “growing” your talent would look like?

    I somewhat wonder though….a contented person wouldn’t have God pry away….I think that is more a trust thing. If I ever WAS content with something, I am pretty sure God would have to pry it away. If I knew what contentment felt like, I am pretty sure I would be reluctant to surrender at first…… Even in things I am NOT content with (ie, former job), it still was hard to let go.

    In letting go however, we learn God always will give us something better. Why is that so hard to trust and believe?

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