Ancora Imparo - I am still learning

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Contentment vs. Complacency

Godliness with contentment is great gain...  I fully believe this.  Is there a difference between contentment and complacency?  There is no doubt, there is.

I believe we indoctrinate our children children to be complacent.  Schools teach children to never think too far outside of the box, never color outside of the lines.  In fact, never paint pink what is "supposed to be" blue.  We have become such a standardized society, it is either go along with it or be left behind, cast aside.  So we go along, telling ourselves, "This is the way it has to be."

How does this translate to our churches?  We Protestants often laud Martin Luther as a hero of the faith for having the courage to buck complacency and give rise to the Protestant Reformation.  But would we have the courage to pound the nail?  Do we even have the guts to disagree with our denomination's doctrinal stance when we cannot agree in our heart of hearts?  Or are we content to go along, to follow the crowd, believing "it doesn't really hurt anything"?

I had to smile when I heard a conversation between Taliesin, my ten-year old son, and his church music teacher a few days ago.  Taliesin was showing her some of his recent ocean creature drawings.  When he came to the lobster, she asked him if he likes to eat lobster.  He explained to her that he is vegetarian.  She seemed a bit surprised and asked, "Don't you like hotdogs?"  He made a disgusted face and, again, said he is vegetarian.  She told him some of the seafood she likes to eat.  He listened politely, but he did not give up his stance.  It was a perfectly respectful conversation on both sides.  But I was so proud that he did not give in for the sake of not standing out - not even when an adult, a teacher-figure, had questions.  I feel confident that Taliesin will not give into complacency.  The meaning of his name - "having a firm brow" - is so appropriate for him.  I believe we could take a few lessons from his determination.

Godliness with contentment in all circumstances, when we have little or when we have much, is great gain.  Complacency for the sake of going along, is great loss - not only for us, but for the Kingdom of God.  For God has given us our interests, our talents, our passions for a reason.  I believe He expects us to use them.