Contentment and Excellence

Contentment removes the obstructions that keep us from seeing properly. We see things as they are—ourselves, our work, and God. There is no true worship without contentment. I remember hearing a quote that captures the heart of contemned: “If God has called you to be a trashman, don’t stoop so low as to be a king.”

He Saw That It Was Good p. 29

While the example relates to vocation, the application concerns contentment. I think about the balance of contentment and pursuing excellence a lot. As someone who writes a full sermon 45+ times a year, there is always the tension of good enough versus excellence. How do I balance being content with what time allows and recognizing the responsibility of communicating clearly and accurately what God’s word says?

On the one hand it would be wrong to only provide sermons every other week so that I could make sure they were closer to excellent. I need to rest in God’s ability—and greater desire—to change hearts. But it’s also wrong to complain about the fact that another sermon needs to be ready by Sunday. I have been called to that—and I accepted the call. Complaining won’t change anything. 

Yet contentment does not settle into subpar work. If God calls me to be a trashman, I also can’t stoop so low as to be a bad one because I wish I was something else. However inferior a five-day prepared sermon might be to a two-week prepared sermon, that does not give license to spend those five days poorly.

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