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Contentment: Deprivation as Grace

May 24, 2020

It’s amazing how much more tolerant some people are today. Tolerant of limited store hours. Tolerant of limited inventory in the stores. Tolerant of limited, if any, services available at various kinds of service establishments, from health care to auto care to personal care. Tolerant of limited everything, it seems.
Many people are reluctantly learning to adjust to a “new normal,” which is much less convenient, less instant, less accommodating than in the recent past.
Not everyone has become reluctantly accepting of the new circumstances. But many are.
Why are some people more tolerant? The answer is obvious. They have no choice. So they might as well accept the new reality.
I’m reminded of the Kubler Ross stages of grief theory. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. In the context of the current virus pandemic, a reluctant acceptance of fewer options, a reluctant acceptance of fewer conveniences, and and a reluctant acceptance of new – and often silly – limitations on just about everything.
In short, many people have gone from being entitled consumers who demand and expect instant gratification, to being folks who are, in many cases, seemingly glad enought to be alive to be at least somewhat grateful for those comforts that are available as they become available.
For followers of Christ, it might be appropriate to add to the Kubler Ross list. Not all might apply. But maybe after reluctant acceptance, might be gracious acceptance. Then gratitude, and maybe even contentment.
In 1 Peter 2, Peter is alluding to this when he directs us to not only be subject to, but also honor, our government officials. And to not only respect our employers and those with authority over us, but also to do so graciously.
This lesson considers the state of mind – and state of heart – that followers of Chirst are commanded to have, and draws in part from New and Old Testament ideas about contentment.

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