Echoes From the Campfire

Most folks set their sights too high. They demand too much of life… Let me tell you…the happy man is the man who is content with just what he needs…just so he has it regular.”

                         –Louis L’Amour  (Where the Long Grass Blows)

       “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have.  For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.'”
                         –Hebrews 13:5 (NKJV)
Greetings from Maryland.  Vacation with my eldest is an enjoyable experience, but I didn’t want to leave you in the dark about to my health and whereabouts.  Trust you are staying well, calm, and are contented.  Speaking of contentment, I want to relay two stories that came to mind.  I remember a Gene Autry movie where there was a woman journalist from the East posing as a cattlewoman.  Gene asked her what type of cows she raised and she had no idea as to breeds when her eye caught the sight of a can sitting on a shelf:  Condensed Milk From Contented Cows.  She then promptly responded, “I raise contented cows.”  The second story also comes from a movie, The Northwest Passage.  The soldiers were starving living on only a few grains of corn.  One man blurted, “Don’t you get tired of corn?”  An elderly woodsman replied, “Nope.  I’m content with that.  Now, if I was to be expecting roast beef, sausages, and cabbage, I wouldn’t be content with a few grains of corn.”
       So I ask you–are you content?  Paul wrote to the Philippians, “Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.”  (4:11, NKJV)  Christians throughout the world have a better understanding of this verse than American Christians for we are seldom content.  We are not content with circumstances, with the food we have, we the vehicle we drive, and on I could go.  When a new phone comes out it has to be purchased for we are no longer content with the one with have.  Pintos and cornbread for supper–no way!  I want steak and a baked potato with all the fixings.  Or some of you would cry for tofu with greens.
       We need to relax and be content with the guidance of the Lord; thank Him for the blessings that He has bestowed upon you.  We need to learn to silence our soul before the Lord.  Here is a paraphrase of Philippians 4:11 by Jeremiah Burroughs, “I find a sufficiency of satisfaction in my own heart, through the grace of Christ that is in me.  Though I have not outward comforts and worldly conveniences to supply my necessities, yet I have a sufficient portion between Christ and my soul abundantly to satisfy me in every condition.”
       So what is contentment?  Burroughs puts it this way, “Christian contentment is that sweet, inward, quiet, gracious frame of spirit, which freely submits to and delights in God’s wise and fatherly disposal in every direction.”  Contentment is quietness of the heart.  It is a heart that is not distracted by the things of the world, nor is it agitated when things seemingly go wrong.  It recognizes the working of the Holy Spirit throughout the circumstances and situations of life.  The heart is gracious and thankful that it walks in union with Christ recognizing the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  No matter what comes the soul rests in the Lord.
       One grows in contentment; it doesn’t come easily and it doesn’t come naturally.  It comes through the power of the Holy Spirit and faith in the Word of God knowing that God will take care of His children.  Learn to be content.  Burroughs writes, “To be well skilled in the mystery of Christian contentment is the duty, glory and excellence of a Christian.”
       Take a deep sigh, and I’ll write again when it is convenient.  We’ll be heading up to a cabin in Pennsylvania this weekend.  I will be content sitting in front of a campfire, enjoying God’s great cathedral of nature.  Let me pass on a saying that I saw in my travels since tomorrow is the first day of Fall.
                                   Autumn carries more Gold in its Pocket than All the other Seasons.
Therefore, be content with what comes your way, and also in the season of life in which you find yourself.