How to Die Contented (Genesis 25:8)

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It’s hard to find contentment.

We’re always running around chasing this thing or that thing, and all the while, never being happy with any of it. As soon as we get that promotion, we want a better one. As soon as we get that house, we want a bigger one.

Solomon wrote about this in Ecclesiastes 5:10: “The one who loves silver is never satisfied with silver, and whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with income. This too is futile.”

Based on that verse, I’m convinced that contentment is a skill. It’s not a pot of gold at the end of some rainbow, it’s something you can develop here. Now. Today.

And we should.

Paul wrote in Philippians 4:11 that he had “learned contentment” in every single circumstance. To him, it didn’t matter whether he was rich or poor, hungry or full — he chose to be content.

Which makes Abraham’s statement at the end of his life even more interesting. He lived to be 175 years old (Genesis 25:7), but more importantly, it said that he died “old and contented.”

For most of Abraham’s life, it certainly didn’t appear that way. Told to leave his home without any understanding of where he was going, he faced dangers (from Abimelech), despair (at losing Ishmael), learned patience (waiting for Isaac) and bravery (in rescuing Lot), and developed a deep trust in the power of God to resurrect the dead (during his *almost* sacrifice of Isaac). 

Those individual circumstances, over time, is what developed his faith.

It wasn’t always smooth sailing, though. Abraham seemed unsure at times, doubted whether God would actually provide the son, and feared for his life. How then could the Bible say that he died “contented” when the Text seems to indicate anything but?

That’s an answer I hope to learn as I grow older. I’m already dealing with the beginnings of anxiety about not getting everything done that I want to get done in life. My lifetime to-do list grows longer by the day. I know that, when I die, there will be things left undone.

I hope that when that day comes, I can look back and be contented with my life’s work. Will it be perfect? No. Even Abraham most likely had regrets. 

But will it be enough? I pray it will be.