The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment by Jeremiah Burroughs was first published in 1648. It is an amazing book but very hard to get through. I know. I've tried. Davis has essentially taken Burroughs' thoughts and interpreted them for our generation. He has done an excellent job, producing a very readable and very convicting book.
Davis's thesis for this book, he writes, is that Christian contentment “is finding delight in God's wise plan for my life and humbly allowing him to direct me in it.” (153/2754) Contentment is the mark of a fully mature Christian, he says. Why strive toward contentment? First of all, we are commanded to do so. (Heb. 13:5) And, says Davis, we will be more joyful, God will receive more glory, and we will be an inspiration to others.
Davis helps us understand how we learn contentment - and it is something that can be learned. It is not a spiritual gift that comes with salvation. Paul learned the secret of it and so can we. (Phil. 4:12) It is a work of grace through faith, Davis says. There is a mystery to it though, having complete satisfaction in the world while having dissatisfaction with the world.
I really like how Davis explains contentment as a mindset, a way of looking at everything, recognizing God's sovereignty over all of our lives. It includes the good times and the painful ones. Maintaining contentment in painful times is difficult and Davis provides a practical strategy for doing so. Part of that strategy: “We must conquer the natural desire for a painless life if we are going to grow in contentment ...” (1217/2754) Davis adds an area of contentment Burroughs did not consider, being content in prosperity.
I found this book to be a very practical and convicting one. Davis's comments on gratitude and complaining cut to the heart. Perhaps that is because contentment is a heart issue. And it is hard. “Christian contentment will not come easily. You will need to focus your soul on it, moment after moment, for the rest of your life.” (2218/2754)
I high recommend this book to Christians ready to obey the command to be content and follow the examples of Paul and Christ. You will receive very good teaching and practical strategy for doing so. As Davis says, it is worth pursuing this rarest of jewels.
My rating: 5/5 stars.
Andrew M Davis is pastor of First Baptist Church of Durham, North Carolina, and a visiting professor of church history at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is chairman of the governance committee of The Gospel Coalition and has written articles for its website. He is the author of two previous books.
Baker Books, 224 pages.
I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.