Mission Issues

Thinking and re-thinking missionary issues

Being content with life

I’ve been away from home for a few days while attending a meeting, which is also the reason I did not blog for two days, seeing that I had no internet connection. Part of this meeting was spent on discussing the letter I previously mentioned here. The person who had written the letter was also asked to attend the meeting so that it could be discussed with him. The good news is that he decided to withdraw the letter. However, the fact that it had been written could not be ignored and therefore a lot of time was spent in trying to understand his own personal feelings which had motivated him to put these things which he had said, on paper.
As I listened to the discussions taking place, I realised at some point that probably one of the main problems with this person was his own feeling of discontentment, not only with his own life but also with that which he received. And shortly afterwards I also realised that the issue was not the salary which he is getting (or rather, that he feels he is not getting). I have a strong feeling that, even if his salary should by doubled or tripled, that he would still feel that he is somehow being robbed of money that someone was owing him. He will never, as far as I can see, really be happy, because he seems to believe that the world is owing him something, and this feeling will not go away merely by increasing his salary.
Someone made the remark afterwards that it was strange to him that someone who was getting a relatively large salary (in terms of what people are earning in Swaziland, somewhere in the top 15% of the world) should be complaining about his salary while others, referring specifically to the group of people involved in our home-based caring project and who are getting no financial compensation for the work they are doing, seem to be doing this work joyfully. And suddenly the light seemed to break through in his own mind when he said that the difference was that these people had found purpose in their life. Being content with life isn’t first of all related to compensation received, but knowing that, through your life, you are having a positive influence on other people’s lives.
Obviously this could never become an excuse to underpay someone, but I couldn’t help thinking of the words in Hebrews 13:5: Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
And I wondered: Is it possible to trust God if you’re continually discontent with life?

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Thursday, November 8, 2007 - Posted by | Church, Dependency, Disparity, Home-based Caring, Meetings, Mission, Poverty, Swaziland

2 Comments »

  1. Welcome home!
    I haven’t been blogging either due to a massive influx of ministry related work.

    Over here in the states, there is this pervasive message of “you deserve it” whether it relates to a certain meal, hotel, job, benefit, etc. It’s been standing out to me over the last few months as I listen to the radio and watch TV.

    If we take a biblical view, we deserve little or nothing at all. Everything we have and receive comes from G-d and we should be grateful and thankful for His provision. As you said, from a human perspective, we should not seek to actively UNDERpay or take advantage of someone (that would be an injustice that G-d would be very displeased with), but from each individual’s point of view as a believer, we should be thanking G-d for what we have rather than for what we don’t…especially when our salary falls in the top percentage of the wealthiest people in the world!

    I would find it hard to look outside my window, see someone living in a grass hut on a dirt floor with practically nothing and then complain that my salary isn’t enough. I believe that this is a heart matter, rather than one of money.

    Comment by Maya | Friday, November 9, 2007 | Reply

  2. I have the same feeling you describe with the advertisments of some kind of beauty product which ends with the words: “Because you’re worth it.” I really feel like crying when I get into the type of house you describe in your last paragraph and I see the circumstances within which people live. But these are not the people who complain. I’m not saying their hearts are right. For them it may be just a type of fatalistic approach to life. But I do believe that Christians need to learn to be less discontent.

    Comment by Arnau van Wyngaard | Friday, November 9, 2007 | Reply


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