"It is an amazing truth that we in the West live at a time when almost all of us have more of everything than we need, and possibly on average more than any other generation in history; and yet dissatisfaction abounds. Indeed, the very consumerism that underpins our economies depends precisely upon such dissatisfaction for its dynamic; and such pervades the church as an insidious, lethal but often unnoticed form of worldliness. In this context, it is a great pleasure to recommend this book by my friend, Dr. William Barcley, who addresses the issue head on and offers practical, pastoral advice, firmly rooted in the teaching of the Bible."
Reading these pages I felt my soul being addressed by a wise and godly pastor as to a besetting sin of mine and yours, I suspect. Discontentment abounds; its a product of the materialistic, superficial world in which we live. And yet, it is not the only world in which Christians live: our union with Christ implies we live in Christ as well as in this or that zip code. Bill Barcley combines the best of scholarship, a keen pastoral sensitivity and an ability to get under your skin and apply the Scriptures where it is needed. This is biblical truth at its most searching. Read it but only if Jesus-likeness is what you really desire.
"My friend, Bill Barcley, has done the American Church a great service in writing The Secret of Contentment. Drawing upon Pauls epistles, the writings of the Puritans, and many poignant and precious stories of life, Dr. Barclay has placed his finger on the hallow spot of the American soul. Exposing the futility of everything worthless, from crass consumerism to the emptiness of every child getting a trophy, Bill has laid bare our national sin: discontentment. This seasoned pastor and able New Testament scholar skillfully shows us that we already possess all we need for contentment in Jesus Christ. I cannot recommend enough this modern jewel of Christian contentment. Read it. Answer its discussion questions. Practice its principles. Pass it on to a friend. And, while youre at it, thank Bill Barclay for this tonic for the soul."
"Christians have a great opportunity to demonstrate a spirit of contentment and inner satisfaction to a world, to a world that, as Bill Barcley says, has greatly increased in outward wealth, while at the same time greatly decreasing in personal satisfaction. This insightful volume conveys in a crystal-clear and convincing way crucial insights from Paul's Letter to the Philippians (often called 'the epistle of joy'). Although he is in the line of some of the great Puritans who wrote on contentment, Bill Barcley speaks in our modern language in a very realistic and humble manner. He breaks the nourishing bread of contentment in portions that normal Christian people can assimilate without being choked or frightened away. A serious engagement with what he says should assist us in being dominated by the tyranny of changing circumstances. I particularly appreciated his fourth chapter, which properly distinguised between sinful discontent and proper dissatisfaction for Christians. His comments are realistic about suffering, and helpfully relate our sufferings to those of Christ (chapter five), and shines cheering light on the enjoyment that comes in our union with Christ (chapter eight). I warmly commend this practical manual of happy living in an often hard world."
"Planted in Philippians and watered with Puritan wisdom, this handbook on cultivating contentment unlocks one of the secrets of spiritual health and happiness. A rewarding study."