Jeremiah Burroughs: God’s disposal

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Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order to provide for urgent needs and not live unproductive lives. Titus 3:14

“You never learned the mystery of contentment unless it may be said of you that, just as you are the most contented man, so you are also the most unsatisfied man in the world. You will say, ‘How is that?’ A man who has learned the art of contentment is the most contented with any low condition that he has in the world, and yet he cannot be satisfied with the enjoyment of all the world. He is contented if he has but a crust, but bread and water, that is, if God disposes of him, for the things of the world, to have but bread and water for his present condition, he can be satisfied with God’s disposal in that; yet if God should give unto him Kingdoms and Empires, all the world to rule, if he should give it him for his portion, he would not be satisfied with that. Here is the mystery of it: though his heart is so enlarged that the enjoyment of all the world and ten thousand worlds cannot satisfy him for his portion; yet he has a heart quieted under God’s disposal, if he gives him but bread and water. To join these two together must needs be a great art and mystery.”

Jeremiah Burroughs (1600-1646) in The Rare Jewel Of Christian Contentment (Preach the Word) 23-24.

As we move through Paul’s letters we come to Titus. Two times in the third chapter of this letter, we see Paul urge Titus to make sure that God’s people learn to devote themselves to doing what is good. This is a learning process for all of us.

Burroughs writes at length about how we must learn contentment to be released to the good works that God has prepared in advance for us to do. We must learn to have our heart quieted under God’s disposal.

In that place, we have learned to be content with what God supplies, such as simple bread and water. Simultaneously, we are not satisfied by anything that the world offers. So, what’s the lesson for us today to grow in generosity?

Make your resources and time at God’s disposal. See what happens. Also, as we enter a shopping season. The world will tell you, buy this, or get that. These messages will contain promises of satisfaction. Don’t listen to them.

Instead, buy what you need, and find contentment in God alone. Our hearts are always seeking contentment and they can only find it God. And, with contentment comes joy when we make ourselves and resources available at God’s disposal.