Our family is about to board our first plane to the United States for a four-month home assignment. These home assignments come our way about once every three to four years. Our previous home assignment began in 2015 and finished up in 2016. A lot of life has been lived in the past four years. We’re grateful to serve in the southern Africa region and share the love of Jesus Christ with those in our sphere of influence. Our time and service has been a real joy.
Why is that?
Living here isn’t easy – not for the nationals and not for us, either. Yet, we have something good happening here. Something beautiful. And as I attempt to put my finger on the feeling John and I have about it all, I believe it emanates from a contented heart.
What is contentment?
According to the Cambridge Dictionary, contentment is defined as a state of “happiness and satisfaction, often because one has everything one needs.”
Lately, I’ve been compelled to study contentment in the word of God. I’ve identified over 40 verses to study and research that provide insight into what it means to be content this side of heaven.
Today, I found these verses:
He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God.
New International Version, Ecclesiastes 3: 11 -13
What is the secret of contentment held in these words?
It’s to do good!
We were never meant to be idle beings. We were given toil, labor, and work to do on this good earth for the good of others.
That’s why I think John and I feel so blessed to be living and serving in southern Africa. We are experiencing the pleasant, agreeable, soul-satisfying privilege of sharing the love of Jesus Christ as we strengthen, encourage, and meet the felt needs of others. We believe we are living into our God-given purpose and that is joy on earth.
And the key here is that anyone on earth can experience this level of contentment as a result of their resolve to do good!
I know that the month of November is often a time to reflect with thanksgiving over all the blessings we’ve received over the course of the year and beyond. Yet, for November, I’m thinking it would be not only a wonderful thing to be thankful, but as an outpouring of our thankfulness and contentment, we could do something kind for someone else – every single day of November!
I’m going to call it “The Do-Good Invitation!”
Our family’s second family value is “Love Others.” As an expression of our love for others we seek margin and space in our day to be available to the needs that come our way. We cannot meet every need we see in southern Africa – the need is overwhelmingly huge here! However, we strive to do what we can. And I believe you can, too!
What could we do for someone else each day in November to express our love, offer our care and compassion, and do some good in the lives of our family and friends?
Here are some suggestions…
Be the helper.
Be the encourager.
Be the joy-bringer.
Be the gift-giver.
Be the blessing.
Be the one who prays and keeps on praying.
Be the provider.
Be the cheerleader.
Be the listener.
Be the one who hugs.
Be the one who notices.
Be generous with your time.
Be the one who is on the look out to meet someone at their point of need and assist them in a tangible way.
Be the one who chooses to do good in the life of those you love, those you work with, those you serve, and those you meet.
Take the Do-Good Invitation, act upon it, this next month and see if your level of contentment rises! This invitation is yours for the taking. Because if you are anything like me, you may be noticing a significant amount of discontentment in the news, on your social media feeds, and even in your conversation circles.
Complaint and criticism discourage us.
Judgment and condemnation deluge us.
Discrimination and intolerance separate us.
It really doesn’t have to be this way.
According to King Solomon, the author of Ecclesiastes, there is nothing better in life, nothing more satisfying and good, than to consider the welfare of others and do something good on their behalf. In so doing, our God and Father is honored and glorified – and we experience joy. How is that possible? Because we are more concerned for others and their well-being as we work, as we pray, as we listen, as we bless, and as we love. Our contentment arises from the overflow of blessing we receive from showing kindness and care to others and from the love we receive from God.
It just feels good to do something good.
One more thing.
These do-good blessings don’t have to be broadcast to the world. They can be done without a lot of fanfare. The important thing is to be aware of those around us that have some kind of need – and then meet that need.
What kind of do-good action can we do this next month?
Who can we bless?
Who can we show some kindness?
Who needs some consideration?
Who needs some help around their home?
Who needs a meal?
Who needs a hug?
Who needs a cup of coffee or tea?
Are you with me?
Will you take the do-good invitation?