Contentment is a double-edged sword.
On one hand, we are urged to find joy in each moment because life is a gift. However, we are also called to get off our fannies and work towards goals with a ‘heavenly’ prize.
Unfortunately for those of us who love big houses, fancy cars and vacations; contentment usually has nothing to do with human wants and needs, but has everything to do with loving God and people more.
Let me explain: Have you ever noticed that material things offer great fantasy, but never deliver the projected pleasure? As material possessions increase, the need for more grows to bigger and better stuff. However, the accumulation of wealth doesn’t ever satisfy us to a place of contentment.
In contrast, our worldly goods keep us confined to worry (that someone will take it away), work (to make enough money to keep it) and bitterness (we continue to covet things and never attain true happiness).
The reality is that our humanness and selfish desires get in the way of our contentment.
According to John Ortberg, “We seek richness of having, but what we really want is richness of being. We want to be grateful, joyful, content, free from anxiety and generous. We scramble after richness of having because we think it will produce richness of being, but it does not.”
Contentment only comes to us when we live a life of giving with an attitude of gratitude. Alternately, contentment will never be reached if we live a life of resentment because of the things we do not have and think we deserve.
The key is in the action of giving, because the results seem to last longer and pump up our desires to do it again. Giving makes us happy with others and ourselves! (Seems simple enough, but I’m not buying that it’s easy!!)
To keep us on track, God gives us the following encouragement from His Word:
- “Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.” 1Timothy 6:6-9
- “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21
- “And he said to them, ‘Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.’” Luke 12:15
Material things aren’t bad. However, we have to keep the ‘stuff’ in Godly perspective in order for us to be freed from the chains that bind us to material things and keep us in a state of anxiety, covetousness and discontentment.
Since we can’t take the stuff with us, shouldn’t we spend more time loving on the people around us and making a difference in our world rather than trying to gather ‘just a little more’?
And a crazy thing then happens when we do this…CONTENTMENT!
For example, I am blessed with a husband who affords me the opportunity to stay at home with our kiddos, so I’m very thankful for the job and salary (material things) he has and shares with me. My contentment tends to come and go and has often been on the wrong side of the tracks. HOWEVER, ever since I’ve started to use my gifts and talents for the glory of God I am feeling MUCH more satisfied with my life than I did before!! Thank you God for my contentment 😮
What helps you feel more content with where you are today? I’d love to hear your ideas.
Some Wisdom for Today: Proverbs 23:4-5 – Do not wear yourself out to get rich; have the wisdom to show restraint. Cast but a glance at riches and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle.