Wednesday, August 5, 2020 02:46

More is a 4-Letter Word

no new stuff, stewardship, contentment

Contentment is a rare gem seldom seen but quickly recognized.  Society has taught us to always want more, and the lesson has been well-learned.  Americans are known worldwide as a nation of shoppers, bargain-hunters, and consumers.  Whenever I lead tours to Israel or chaperone groups visiting Europe, I always have to tell the guide to include plenty of time for shopping.

We are already a rich people, yet we are always wanting more.  The condition is serious. Ben Franklin noted “Discontent makes the rich man poor.”  A feeling of poverty, insecurity or inadequacy can fuel the desire for more.   

Thankfully the Bible has an answer.  There is a way for contentment to be learned.

Hebrews 13:5 says clearly: “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have . . . .”  So, contentment is a command and if it is a command then, by God’s grace, it must be attainable. 

The words immediately following the command provide the first secret of contentment.  “Be content . . . because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’”  Learning to be content begins with a close personal relationship with God through Christ.

When we are close to the Savior, we can honestly say “In God We Trust.”  When we are distant, the truth is otherwise. 

1 Timothy 6:6 declares that “godliness with contentment is great gain” (NIV), or as the New Living Translation puts it, “Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth.”  As Thayer explains, the word contentment means “a perfect condition in life in which no aid or support is needed.”  It’s not because I am self-sufficient but because I have discovered that ultimately Christ is all I need.

In my life I have seen passivity, laziness, foolishness, short-sightedness, and ignorance.  None of these is contentment, although at times they may briefly seem to be similar.  Biblical contentment, I believe, is an active awareness that the stuff of this world cannot fulfill my deepest needs.  It is a settled conviction that seeking “the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Mt. 6:33) is the truly satisfying way of life.

Though contentment is rare, I do know it when I see it.  I have been privileged to know a few who have discovered the secret.  Grandma Kirby. “Aunt Ollie.” Gene Meerdink.  These are on my short list.  I wonder what others see in me.  I’m hope I’m learning the secret of contentment, but I know I’m not there yet.

Questions:  What do you think are other secrets of contentment?  Who would you say has learned how to be content?  Can you point to any evidence in your own life that seems to indicate you are learning to be content?

Day 26: NEW STUFF = 0

© 2011, Linden Kirby, Excel Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. 

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