Russell and Duenes

We are content with less when we are traveling

with one comment

I’ve been reading The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, by Jeremiah Burroughs, and it is fast becoming one of my favorite spiritual writings. I don’t say this lightly; but its effect on me continues to grow, and I have such need of contentment and gratitude in my own life that no other topic could be much more urgent for me. So I thought I’d give you a little taste. I’m in chapter five now, called “How Christ Teaches Contentment.” One of the ways that Christ teaches us, according to Burroughs, is by helping our souls “to understand in what relation [they] stand to the world.” He illustrates,

For instance, when a man is at home, if things are not according to his desire he will find fault and is not content; but if a man travels, perhaps he does not meet with conveniences as he desires – the servants in the house are not at his beck or are not as diligent as his own servants were, and his diet is not as at home, and his bed not as at home – yet this thought may moderate his spirit: I am a traveller and I must not be finding fault, I am in another man’s house, and it would be bad manners to find fault in someone else’s house, even though things are not as much to my liking as at home. If a man meets with bad weather, he must be content; it is travellers’ fare, we say. Both fair weather and foul are the common travellers’ fare and we must be content with it. Of course, if a man were at home and the rain poured into his house, he would regard it as an intolerable hardship; but when he is travelling, he is not so troubled about rain and storms. When you are at sea, though you have not as many things as you have at home, you are not troubled at it; you are contented. Why? Because you are at sea. You are not troubled when storms arise, and though many things are otherwise than you would have them at home you are still quieted with the fact that you are at sea. When sailors are at sea they do not care what clothes they have, though they are pitched and tarred, and but a clout about their necks, and any old clothes. They think of when they come home: then they shall have fine silk stockings and suits, and laced bands, and such things, and shall be very fine. So they are contented while away, with the thought that it shall be different when they come home, and though they have nothing but salt meat, and a little hard fare, yet when they come to their houses then they shall have anything.



Written by Michael Duenes

July 16, 2009 at 10:15 pm

One Response

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  1. I can relate to this. I am never so content as when I am traveling. I love the image of my life as a journey, and I want to live it that way. I particularly want to throw off every false obligation that comes from people or institutions other than God, so I can have the freedom to love God and the person in front of me.

    The biggest hindrance to this ideal are my own habits, especially the one of creating and choosing second rate distractions rather than following the Spirit’s lead. I’d like to say I’m making progress toward making better choices.

    May God encourage you with a view of his true heart for you.


    July 17, 2009 at 9:02 am

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