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On Contentment

Contentment is not a natural propensity of man.

Covetousness, discontent, and murmuring are as natural to man as thorns are to the soil. We need not sow thistles and brambles; they come up naturally enough, because they are indigenous to earth: and so, we need not teach men to complain; they complain fast enough without any education.

But the precious things of the earth must be cultivated. If we would have wheat, we must plough and sow; if we want flowers, there must be the garden, and all the gardener’s care.

Do not indulge the notion that you can be contented with learning, or learn without discipline. It is not a power that may be exercised naturally, but a science to be acquired gradually. We know this from experience. Brother, hush that murmur, natural though it be, and continue a diligent pupil in the College of Content.

-Charles Spurgeon

P.S. Those of you that are Christians would be encouraged by this short piece on contentment by Spurgeon.

P.P.S. I’ve written quite a few posts about contentment in the past, starting with a How To Be More Content series:


Today’s 365 post: Two Months +

Joshua’s 365 post: I think Lisey might just a little bit excited…

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Sunday 22nd of April 2012

I was raised to live a frugal life and to find contentment in the gifts God gives me, and for the most part, I thnk I have done so. However, I sometimes find myself struggling with discontentment ("when can I get my 50 year old kitchen cupboards replaced?"). I have learned to look for sources of my discontent--am I reading too many magazines or watching too many TV shows dedicated to upgrading my home? Am I hanging out with others who tend to want more, more, more? Now, I'm not saying I need to live a media-free life and never spend time with friends, but I do need to be aware of what I feed my mind on and (more importantly) how much power I give those subtle messages I am receiving.

I found your website a couple of weeks ago and love it! It is well-written, full of common sense, and avoids "extreme everything" with a nice touch of humor thrown in. Bravo!


Tuesday 10th of April 2012

Love this. Love Spurgeon. Thank you for sharing this essential message. :)


Tuesday 10th of April 2012

Great article! If I may ask, do you know what kind of tree is in the picture at the beginning of the post? I'm planning on planting some trees at my place and the flowers on that tree are just beautiful!


Tuesday 10th of April 2012

Thank-you, thank-you. I have just been crooked today and you have helped immeasurably.


Tuesday 10th of April 2012

I find contentment just from myself. I do not like to make myself feel better because someone else is worse off than me. I don't like that at all. How would you like it if you were the lower person being used to make someone else feel better about themselves? Not very good, I imagine.

There will always be people who are worse off or better than you. That is why I try to find contentment inside myself. A good thing to do is to look at yourself when you first started out in your own life and then compare it to how far you have come. Look at your current situation, right here, right now.

I've come a long way from that small little innocent child I once was. I did the best I could. I made the right choices I thought were right, at the time. Hindsight is 20/20. We can't go backward. We can only go forward. Each day that we are alive, we are given a gift. The gift is to make each day as brilliant as possible. If we're lucky, fortunate and blessed, we will get another day to try again.

Look at your life right now. Here. Today. You've come a long way baby. And that is NOT a casual cliche'. It's true. You done good! (not proper English, but you get the meaning.)


Tuesday 10th of April 2012

Did you read the original post about looking at people who have less? In it, I pointed out that the goal is not to look down on other people, but instead to recognize that if they can be happy with so much less than we have, we certainly can be content with what we've been given.

For instance, looking at Laura Ingalls Wilder's life helps me when I think my house is too small. She and her family lived in teeny little dwellings and yet were happy and content.

And looking at currently living people who have less (such as people who live in slums and huts in Africa) should move us to compassion while also helping us to see our own circumstances with new, appreciative eyes.

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