Am I financially content with what I have? It’s something I’ve been asking myself a lot these days. When I stop and look around, I am amazed at all of the blessings God has brought into my life. Perhaps it’s my human nature, but there’s something in me that’s always looking forward to the “next great thing.”
There’s nothing wrong with planning and looking forward to things, but when we’re constantly looking forward in search of contentment – there’s a problem. We do this every time we say things like, “I’ll be happy when I can afford (fill in the blank).” Or “I’ll feel better about my finances when I get the raise I deserve.”
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We live in a culture that is constantly striving to upgrade our lives. We want better cars, bigger homes, luxurious vacations, etc. There’s nothing wrong with nice things, but when we choose to make these things our goal, it’s easy to be discontent with our life the way it is.
I didn’t realize how discontent I was until I read the following passage in Luke:
“What should we do?” asked some soldiers. John replied, “Don’t extort money or make false accusations. And be content with your pay.” – Luke 3:14 (NLT)
How many times do we say to ourselves, “I deserve a better wage”? Maybe we do deserve to be paid more, but ultimately that doesn’t matter.
Chasing after worldly wealth will always lead to discontentment and a desire for more.
Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it. So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content. – 1 Timothy 6:6-8 (NLT)
In his letter to the Philippians, Paul told them that he had learned to be content whether he had everything or nothing. He trusted God to provide, and he knew that Christ would give him the strength to endure hardships. (Philippians 4:11-13) What would it look like if we as believers were content with all that God had blessed us with in the same way Paul was?
God calls us to be content for good reason. For one thing, longing to be rich can lead us into temptation.
But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows. – 1 Timothy 6:9-10 (NLT)
Another reason God calls us to be content is that our desire for more often replaces our desire for God. We lean on ourselves and our ability to make money and achieve goals. God longs for us to lean on Him.
Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” – Hebrews 13:5 (ESV)
And finally, God calls us to be content because it’s good for us. I don’t need science to tell me that stress hurts the body. Living a life of discontentment is extremely stressful. Being content with what God has given me and trusting that He has met (and will continue to meet) all of my needs gives me a peace beyond understanding.
A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot. – Proverbs 14:30 (ESV)
*Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.