The Bottom Line of Contentment

It’s hard to believe I’ve been working at KCWN for almost four (!!!) years now. Those first days were so intimidating; I was constantly making mistakes - pushing buttons when I wasn’t supposed to, forgetting to turn our automation system back on (which resulted in dead air), and stumbling over my words as I struggled to think of something interesting or relevant to say. I’d look at someone like Bev or Lisa with awe - they looked so natural and relaxed, while I felt like a big old mess! It was easy to forget that Bev and Lisa were once novices at radio too; that effortless demeanor took years of dedication, preparation, and hard work.

These days I’m much more at ease on the air, but that’s no accident. Back in October of 2015 I recorded part of my show, then sat down with Lisa Williams for an hour of coaching. Using her decades of experience in radio, she was able to listen with expert ears and then provide much-needed feedback. The advice I got in that one hour was a critical piece in helping me grow and mature as an on-air radio host. From that point on every time I turned on the radio I listened with a new perspective, looking for methods and techniques that could fine-tune and improve my own performance.

In other words, I didn’t get to where I am today overnight; it’s been a gradual process that’s taken years, and one that will continue as long as I’m here at KCWN (and that’s a good thing - even Bev is still learning!). Our sanctification is not much different; it doesn’t happen overnight, but instead is typically a long, gradual process of learning and growing that continues for as long as we’re here on this earth. The apostle Paul said as much in the book of Philippians about his ability to be content; in chapter 4:11 he says:

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. (ESV)

Paul - the greatest missionary in the history of the Church - had to learn to be content. If you’ve ever struggled with being content in your circumstances, I hope that fact is an encouragement - Paul had to learn this, so don’t worry if you’re having to learn as well! Joni Eareckson Tada (one of my personal “heroes of the faith”) writes in her devotional “The Bottom Line of Contentment” this statement:

The apostle Paul said he had “learned to be content whatever the circumstances” (Philippians 4:11). The key word is learned. It didn’t happen overnight.

She then moves on to the example of Job, who literally had everything - possessions, family, and health - taken away, yet still had the rock-solid conviction to say this:

“Though God slay me, yet will I hope in him.”

Joni says this about the example of Job:

Though he had been staggered by blow after blow of bad news, Job took his stand on the character of God. He believed with all his heart that God had supplied him with all he needed. And even if God took it all away—including life itself—Job would remain faithful. That’s the real bottom line of contentment. If tomorrow God takes away your health, your job, or even a family member, will you hold on to hope?

That last question is one to ponder - if you or I lost all the “stuff” of this world, would we still have hope? I faced this head-on when chronic pain entered my life eight years ago and the things that gave my life meaning and purpose - running, hiking, backpacking, traveling, and work - vanished. Let’s just say my initial response was not Job’s… I, like Paul, have had to learn contentment. In my case that means living with joy and hope, even though I’m constantly in pain. It’s taken a long time to get to where I am today, and I still have a long way to go - but like Paul I know that in Christ I can have contentment in any circumstance. Let’s encourage each other as we walk this path together!