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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