Megan Hill, Contentment: Seeing God’s Goodness. P&R Publishing, 2018
Full disclosure: my evaluation of Megan Hill’s Contentment is hardly unbiased. I have long admired both her and her family. In the early 1990s, her Dad welcomed me to the New England Reformed Fellowship. Megan’s writing talent is exceptional, a valuable gift to God’s church. For years I have read with profit her mother-daughter blog, Sunday Women, and her other posts at Christianity Today and The Gospel Coalition. Megan is also the author of Praying Together: The Priority and Privilege of Prayer in Our Homes, Communities, and Churches. When I moved to the Jackson area in 2014, Megan and her husband, Rob, warmly welcomed me to their church and home.
Biases confessed and out of the way, now let me heartily recommend Megan’s new book, Contentment: Seeing God’s Goodness, a part of the 31-day Devotional For Life series published by P&R.
Megan’s language is elegant and crisp, her illustrations apt, and her expositions clear and faithful to the scriptures. Friends of the Puritans will appreciate her familiarity with Jeremiah Burrough’s classic, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment. Megan offers a fine example of experiential Christian writing. It is evident that her biblical teaching on contentment is more than an intellectual exercise. Like all Christians, she struggles with discontentment, and, with sensitivity and skill, offers a path forward to those convinced that “godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Timothy 6:6).
The meditations are brief (two pages). They fall under these categories:
1. The Value of Contentment
2. Finding Contentment By Looking to Christ
3. Cultivating a Right Understanding of My Circumstances
4. The Desires We Ought to Have
5. Cultivating a Thankful Heart
6. Pursuing Contentment in Specific Circumstances
Each meditation concludes with an invitation to “Reflect” and “Act,” moving the reader from an understanding of biblical text and doctrine to application.
In addition to personal devotions, Contentment will prove a valuable resource for small groups and biblical counsellors.
Several of the many gems I discovered in this book:
“Once it takes hold of our hearts, discontent quickly leads to other sins. . . . Dissatisfied with our own situation, we look around at the lives of others and add the sin of envy. We covet the lives of our friends and neighbors — people who seem to have everything we want and more.”
“But if discontent waits just around the next corner, grace does too.”
“To a discontented heart, our neighbor is not an object of kindness but a symbol of the life we wish we had. But, secure in the eternal love of Christ for us, united to him by faith, and reminded of his sacrifice on our behalf, we can trust him with our circumstances and freely love others.”
“Too often, praying before a meal is a perfunctory ritual with little heart engagement. Today, every time you put food in your mouth or take a drink of water, pause to truly acknowledge your own helpless dependence on God and thank him for his kindness in providing your daily bread.”
“The Bible never proposes that we arrive at contentment by refusing to have any desires. In fact, desire is central to the Christian life. Right desire fuels prayer, motivates obedience, and unifies believers. Just as changing our eating habits doesn’t mean we must stop ever being hungry, pursuing contentment doesn’t require us to avoid desire completely.”
Take up and read Contentment to the glory and enjoyment of God!