Are You Satisfied?
by Dave Fry
“Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done…” Galatians 6:9a (NLT)
There is a difficulty and challenge that many followers of Christ battle with, and it’s an issue which can lead to unhealthy attitudes and relationships. Without careful consideration it’s something which we can fall prey to. The issue I’m referring to is the idea of being ‘satisfied’, or content, with something we’ve been involved in accomplishing.
It’s important to note here that by ‘satisfaction’ we are not referring to the biblical description of pride. There are certainly many good and Godly admonitions against the perils of pride, and one would be foolish to ignore them. We should rightly find abhorrent any thought that our accomplishments have flowed exclusively from our own inherent goodness, or that we might glory in ourselves somehow.
Beyond pride, there are many who find other dangers in the idea of being satisfied with something they’ve done. Some correlate ‘satisfaction’ with ‘complacency’–the idea that if absolute perfection wasn’t achieved, then something should not be ‘settled for’ and we shouldn’t enjoy any satisfaction in it. We certainly should be careful to never become comfortable with mediocrity, of accepting ‘good enough’, merely because the effort to do the best we’re capable of requires more than we’re willing to exert.
Further still, some find fault with the idea that we–who can contribute nothing to our salvation by any good works–should ever claim any credit in an accomplishment. Their reasoning is that any satisfaction that we take in our work steals glory from God. James 1:17 tells us that “Every good and perfect gift is from above”, and so ultimately God is the author and source of every good thing which we do or have. And none of us wants to be guilty of stealing from God, so it’s easy to see why this issue can be a source of confusion.
But, while avoiding the extremes of pride and complacency, and being careful to give God the credit he is due, is it wrong to be satisfied with our work? Shouldn’t that at least be a part of what gets us out of bed in the morning to go about the ‘good works’ that God has prepared in advance for us, whether that’s ‘up front’ ministries like leading worship or teaching, or more behind the scenes roles like running the sound, lights or MediaShout presentation, leading a Sunday school class, or changing diapers in the nursery?
I would suggest that God actually encourages us to enjoy and find satisfaction in our work for him, and he even set an example for us in Genesis. Six times in the first chapter of Genesis God completes part of the creation and it says that he “saw that it was good”. It seems fair to say that he looked upon what he had completed and took satisfaction in it. Then, after creating mankind on the sixth day, it says that “God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was
very good!” (NLT) Not just ‘good’, but ‘very good!’ Now this account could have easily described all of God’s activities in creation without explaining his assessment of the work. But, like his resting on the seventh day was an example for us to follow, him finding satisfaction in his work can be an example of how we should approach our work.
Further evidence of God’s encouragement to find satisfaction in our work can be found in various Old and New Testament passages. Ecclesiastes 2:24 recalls Solomon’s experience:
“So I decided there is nothing better than to enjoy food and drink and to find satisfaction in work. Then I realized that these pleasures are from the hand of God.” (NLT)
God was found to be the source of the pleasure that Solomon found in his work, and this was no doubt helpful in sustaining Solomon through his many notable achievements–including the construction of a glorious temple for God. Paul, in his letter to the Galatians, admonished them to…
“Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else.” (Galatians 6:4, NLT)
In addition to enjoying the satisfaction of ‘a job well done’, there is a side benefit of avoiding the sin of envy. And lastly, it seems reasonable to hear in Christ’s voice a sense of triumphant satisfaction upon completing his most excruciating earthly assignment when he exclaimed from the cross “It is finished!”, and then gave up his spirit. Sometimes, the things which God calls us to are not easy or comfortable. But we can be encouraged by the example of Jesus Christ as he found satisfaction in complete obedience to his Father’s will, no matter how difficult the task.
May the same be true of us!
Call To Action:
The great olympic athlete and missionary to China, Eric Liddell, is well known for saying “God made me fast. And when I run, I feel his pleasure.” Brother, Sister, my prayer for you today is that as you offer up your sacrifice of service to God in whichever role he made you for, that you ‘feel his pleasure’ and are encouraged, strengthened and deeply satisfied by Him. And I pray even more so that you will find joyous rest and contentment in the knowledge that he loves and cares for you not because of the quality or quantity of your work, but simply because he chooses to!
About the author:
Dave and his family reside in the greater Nashville, TN area. He has served in a wide range of
local church ministries including technical and worship arts, children’s ministry, and deacon ministry, and he enjoys serving with relief organization Hope Force International to provide aid to those affected by natural disasters. He’s been a member of the MediaShout team for almost thirteen years.