God’s Balance Sheet: Lessons in Stewardship ~ Cultivating a Life of Contentment

Sunday’s Scripture ~ Philippians 4:10-13

(tangent…the spelling of Philippians always catches me…I think it should have more l’s.  Alas, it does not.)

When pondering contentment I am reminded of a scene from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.  It is after Christmas and Harry is wandering and wondering about the Hogwarts Castle under the shield of his invisibility cloak.  One night he is fleeing from Filch and Snape (that’s Professor Snape, Sarah) and he ducks into a room that is home to the Mirror of Erised.

The Mirror of Erised bears magical powers.  It shows the viewer the very desires of his or her heart – and if the desires are of pure intentions – the mirror will reveal what will lead the viewer to ultimate contentment.

Harry gazes in and sees his parents – parents he has never known.

Ron gazes in and sees that he is head boy and Quidditch captain, too!

Professor Dumbledore told Harry if he were to look into the mirror he would see a very warm pair of wool socks.

(I never quite understood this…been looking for connections in the book…any HP experts care to help a sister out?!)

Maybe what Dumbledore was trying to convey by saying he would see himself with a warm pair of wool socks was that he didn’t need very much – or very material things – in order to be content.  He didn’t need stuff upon stuff upon more stuff.  He didn’t need wealth, power, or influence.  Perhaps this is a nod to how close to contentment the wise old professor already was…
If you had access to such a mirror and stood before it, what would it reveal on your path to contentment?
  • Lots of stuff?
  • A person?
  • An ideology?
  • Faith?

And when you stand before that mirror to see the desires of your heart, are they pure desires?  Desires becoming of the teachings of the gospel?  Or desires of the world that are clouding your heart and mind?

In this week’s Scripture passage Paul encourages the Philippians (and us!) to find and secure our contentment in our faith in Christ.  In our faith in Christ we will discover a strength that will not falter and will guard us from the temptations of materialism and over-consumption.  In our faith in Christ we find strength and found our identity, not in worldly things that will break or tarnish or pass away or fail, but in he who is perfect and eternal.

When I look in that mirror…I want to see Christ.  When you look in the mirror what do you want to see?

Reflection: What have you seen in your mirror?  Did it fill you or fail you?  What has led you towards contentment?  What has led you towards what you thought was contentment but did not truly fill your emptiness?  How will strengthening yourself in Christ strengthen your contentment?

Prayer: Most gracious God, I want to find contentment in you.  I want to look into the mirror and see you.  I want my identity to be in Christ, not in stuff.  Forgive me, Lord, when stuff has kept me from you – whether it be the physical stuff or the pursuit of it.  Strengthen me to pursue you and only you.  I want to see you.  Amen.