Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Devotionals for the Heart: Finding Contentment Amidst Commercialism

Where To Find Contentment

A devotional by Sharon Musgrove

“I don’t have a sense of needing anything personally. I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.”–Philippians 4:11-13 (MSG)

Contentedness is illusive in our culture. Everywhere we turn we are confronted with advertising that tells us that we need something more to make us happy in our lives. Even when we think we’re good, commercialism tells us we are not.

When the Apostle Paul wrote the above words to the Christians in Philippi, he was in prison for being an evangelist. It was a time of physical discomfort and great need for himself and his friend Timothy. Yet when Paul received a care package from the church, he responded by saying he is content.

My friend Josy is an amazing person who models for me the contented life. Born in rural Kenya, she knew poverty. Her family lived without running water or power in a home with dirt floors. Food was scarce while hunger was prevalent. To better her life for herself and her family, Josy married. But her husband was abusive. Going from bad to worse, she gave birth to a son with a serious heart defect. People believed her to be cursed and suggested she leave her baby in the wilderness to die.

But Josy believed in Jesus Christ and thought the advice given to her was wrong, as did an American medical missionary who connected them with a heart surgeon in the United States. Through a series of kindhearted gifts, Josy’s son received the necessary surgery to correct the defect and set the boy up to thrive.

The love and compassion that Josy received inspired her. She decided to leave the abusive marriage and move to the United States where she could become a person who gives in return. Josy’s American Dream looks much different than those of us born here. Rather than amassing stuff for herself, she gives to others. She and her son live in a small apartment and have often struggled to make ends meet. Despite the everyday difficulties, Josy has paid for a home for her mother in Kenya and began a nonprofit for Maasai children with disabilities.

Josy’s story illustrates Paul’s sentiments through her pursuit of showing love to others. Her desire mirrors God’s desire to see hurting people loved and cared for. This testimony reminds me of what the Bible says in Philippians 4:13 (MSG): “Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.”

Each of us is influenced one way or another—by the ads telling us what will make us happy or by the One (God) who gives us the recipe for lifelong contentedness. We get to choose.

Let’s Pray: Heavenly Father, Thank You for loving us so deeply and caring for our needs so well. Your holy scriptures help us to understand just how You have designed us to love and live for others and not just pursuing our own wants. You show us the contentedness in living aligned this way. We thank You for the examples in the lives of others and ask for Your help in centering our lives on what You desire. In Jesus’s Name we pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “The Mission” by Steve Green. Listen to it here.

Author Bio:

Sharon Musgrove has a diverse background in business, fitness, and health industries. This background led her to a unique position writing curriculum and teaching for two private, Christ-based, residential recovery programs. Both programs primarily served women in the homeless community. 

Sharon has traveled multiple times to Kenya, serving on medical teams and teaching in the rural Maasai communities. She was privileged to participate in Leadership camps for maturing young women. These annual camps have a mission of encouraging and empowering the impoverished, underprivileged, and often abused young Maasai girls.

Identifying personally with the brokenness of the women she’s served, Sharon sees the great need for encouragement and connection. Within ministries served, Sharon has witnessed the transformative power of loving words spoken to the broken-hearted. Sharing God’s love and building cross-cultural communities has become her passion.

In her leisure time, Sharon enjoys nature, deep conversations, and a good story. She and her husband, Jeff, divide their time between Oregon and Hawaii. They have two grown children.

Currently, Sharon is encouraging others via her inspirational blog, writing devotionals for other websites, and is working on a nonfiction book titled The Whole-Of-Us: Putting Church Back Together.

Connect with Sharon:

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