I have prepared nineteen different quotes that I will be sharing from Jeremiah Burrough’s book, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, in the weeks to come at my blog
. But before I put up any quotes I just want to say two things about the book:
1. First of all, if you get the book (and I highly recommend that you do), you will want to read the entire book in light of the first chapter.
Burroughs both defines what biblical contentment is and is not in Chapter 1. If you do not read the entire book with his understanding of what contentment consists of and doesn’t consist of you will come away with an unbiblical view of Christian contentment.
Burroughs obviously did not feel the need to continually qualify everything that he said, and the only place where he deals with issues of biblical sorrow vs. contentment and biblical prayers for deliverance vs. murmuring is in the first chapter. Many of the things he says will be taken as over-the-top and overly-harsh if you do not keep chapter 1 in the back of your mind as you read the entire book. If anyone comes away from this work feeling Burroughs to be insensitive, I will simply refer them back to chapter 1.
2. The one downfall of the book (apart from a few minor issues) was his lack of emphasis on the person of Jesus Christ.
I applaud Burroughs for his knowledge and use of the Old Testament, but he had the perfect opportunity to shine a light on Jesus Christ as “the author and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2). I was expecting a chapter on Jesus as our greatest example of contentment. Needless to say, there isn’t such a chapter in the book. He mentions it here and there in passing, but as a New Covenant Christian I do not see how one can talk about Christian contentment without setting Jesus up as The example of contentment. My grievance in this is not just my desire to see Christ exalted in all things, but rather that He really is the greatest example. After all, He, “for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame.” He approached the cross with joy! He “scorned its shame,” which means that he didn’t think it worthy of great consideration. He was content because he found joy in the promises of God that outweighed (made small) the shame and pain of the cross.
Do not let this oversight drive you away from Burroughs’ book.
Rather, read the book and then seek to make your contribution to the book by writing a concluding chapter on Jesus as the greatest example of contentment.
There is a free pdf version of the book online if you want to read it. Click here
to go to the free pdf version.
If you want to buy The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, click here
Jimmy serves as pastor for “Preaching and Vision” at Sovereign Grace Fellowship in Boscawen, New Hampshire. Previoulsy he fulfilled leadership roles in both Kansas City, Missouri and Las Vegas, Nevada. Jimmy received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Biblical Studies from Hannibal-LaGrange College and a Master of Divinity degree from Liberty University.
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There are books you should read at your desk hunched over and ready to wrestle with rarified ideas. Then there are books that you should read the way you stop by a shaded stream. The trust level is high. The expectation for refreshment is keen. Jon Bloom, the President of Desiring God, has written a book like that. I encourage you to get a copy.
Here is the way Jon describes his aim: “The purpose of this little book is to imaginatively reflect on the real experiences of real people in the Bible in order to help you grasp and live what it means to ‘trust in the Lᴏʀᴅ with all our heart, and . . . not lean on our own understanding.’ Its goal is to help you believe in Jesus while living in a very confusing and painful world.”
To help you get to know Jon and his book I wrote the Foreword. Here’s what I said:
With the apostle John I say, I am writing these things to you so that my joy may be complete (1 John 1:4). My joy. Yes, yours too. But that’s not my point yet. To write on behalf of Jon Bloom and his book is a joy. So indulge me for a moment, if you are willing.
First, I love Jon Bloom. I want to praise the man. He is worthy of your attention.
Jon is a man of worship. He lives under the sovereign grace of God with a happy sense of submission and praise. In fact, he is a worship leader at his church.
Jon is a lover of the gospel of Jesus. He is manifestly glad that his sins are forgiven because of Christ, and his works are the fruit of his justification, not the root.
Jon is humble and ready to confess his sin and heal relationships.
Jon is strong in the word. He has a backbone and is not easily duped.
Jon is a man of vision — a vision for his life and family, and a vision for Desiring God. He has overseen this ministry since the beginning with far-seeing dreams.
Jon is reliable. I would trust him with my life. Indeed I have trusted him with the ministry — which is a huge part of my life.
Jon is wise. Though he is a generation younger than I am, I would turn to him before most older men. There is a gift of wisdom. Jon has it. He is my counselor.
Not surprisingly then this book is also worthy of your attention. All that Jon is as a person is poured out here. And his gifts.
Jon is creative. These meditations are not your ordinary exposition. These are stories. Really good stories. They are rooted in what the Bible says. The creative additions never go beyond what really could have happened. The truths that Jon sees for our lives are based not on what might have been but on what was. The might-have-beens capture give added flesh to the bones of truth. They are touchable.
Jon is persuaded that if you know the truth, the truth will make you free. And truths about the greatness of Christ are the best ones for freeing us from unbelief. And to be freed from unbelief is to be freed from fear and greed and pride and anger and lust and despair and a hundred other permutations of life-ruing sins.
New Christians or old Christians, what we need in order to walk by faith and not by sight is glimpses. I know that sounds contradictory. We need sight not to walk by sight? But it’s not contradictory, because the sight we need is not a sight of what the day holds, but a sight of who holds the day.
And even that sight happens by looking through the window of the word. Which means we see with our ears. Yes it sounds strange. But listen: “The Lᴏʀᴅ revealed himself to Samuel at Shiloh by the word of the Lᴏʀᴅ” (1 Samuel 3:21). So we “look” through the window of the word with our ears and what we hear is a sight of God!
If that makes no sense to you, here’s a suggestion. Pick a chapter in this book whose title looks relevant for you. Listen as you read. Look through what you hear. And see if Jesus does not show himself to you in such a way that you trust him more.
That is what Jon Bloom desires. That is what we both are praying for. Your joy of faith. So yes, I wrote this for my joy. And mine will be full if I hear that my happy commendations and Jon’s beautiful narrations awaken in you the gladness of walking by faith, Not By Sight.
Founder and Teacher, Desiring God
Chancellor, Bethlehem College and Seminary
[Gleaned from Desiring God]