Working through Burrough’s Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment has been a great exercise. I’m not quite finished with it, but so far I’ve been making many little notes based on Burrough’s wisdom. There are some aspects of it I probably wouldn’t capitalize on, but others I am trying to etch in my memory and on my heart. One thing I’m committing to memory is that Christian contentment is indeed a precious jewel – and that it is also an art. Here are a few quotable quotes, ones that are worth getting onto your “hard drive,” so to speak.
“So this is the art of contentment: not to seek to add to our circumstances, but to subtract from our desires. …The best way to be rich is not by increasing wealth, but by diminishing our desires” (p. 47).
“A contented man, though he is most contented with the least things in the world, yet he is the most dissatisfied man that lives in the world” (p. 43).
[The contented man says] “The Lord knows how to order things better than I” (p. 36).
Burroughs also says the reason that things in this world do not give us contentment is “because they are not things proportionable to that immortal soul of yours that is capable of God himself” (p. 91). What does that mean? It means that trying to find contentment in the things of this world is like trying to get a full stomach by opening your mouth on a windy day (Ibid.). It means that finding contentment in the things of this age is vanity – foolishness akin to saying more wind will fill my stomach while staying open-mouthed in the wind longer. Sounds like Ecclesiastes 5.10-16!