So when is enough, enough? Do you find yourself unable to enjoy what you do have because your thoughts always seem to wander to what you don’t have? Contentment should be the goal of every person who desires to walk in financial freedom. In our “more, more, more” society, anyone who is content is viewed by the stressed-out masses as lazy and unambitious. It is interesting to note that various surveys show that people felt richer in the â€˜50′s they do now when we have bigger houses, IPODs, low-calorie frozen dinners, cable TV, the Internet, extra jobs and the works. Why is this so? Because we have too busy trying to obtain or maintain too much stuff!
But, let’s look at contentment as taught in the Bible. Paul taught that “. . .godliness with contentment is great gain”. (1 Timothy 6:6 (KJV)) We must understand that discontentment is a state of the mind in which one never quite feels satisfied with his present possessions. On the other hand, contentment is a state of the heart. A contented Christian says, “Lord, I thank you for every thing that I am blessed to have right now and I rest in your promise to give me the desires of my heart and to meet my every need according to your riches in glory. You see the financial goals that I have submitted to you. I receive your grace to do all that I am supposed to do and I leave the rest to you.”
To be content, then, does not mean to be complacent. A complacent person is satisfied with his plight and desires no more. A Christian who is content is satisfied that his material blessings are on a planned delivery schedule and at the appointed time will come into reality. We must understand that God has always worked on a set timetable. He sent His son Jesus to the earth “in the fullness of time”; He promises to exalt us in “due season”. Your financial blessing will come at the appointed time. You must stay surrendered to God’s sovereign schedule. Oh, what a relief it is to relax in the assurance that the blessing is for a set time. It is no wonder then that the apostle Paul exclaimed that godliness with contentment is great gain. One who has achieved this state of mind (and spiritual maturity!) has indeed gained the victory over anxiety and the gravitational pull of materialism.
Antidotes to Discontentment
Practice Gratitude: One of the key steps to slaying discontentment is to become extremely grateful for every thing. Take nothing for granted. At the end of each day, take a few minutes to remind yourself of every provision that God has made for you and your family that day. Did you have transportation? Did you have a choice of what outfit to wear today? Were you able to obtain the food that you wanted? Are you aware that the people in Haiti live off less than $2 per day?
Solidify Relationships: Another key factor in avoiding the pitfall of discontentment is to become more relationship focused and less “stuff” conscious. When we read the account of the Shunammite woman to whom Elisha wanted to express his appreciation for making a room addition to her home for him and his servant, we immediately sense her contentment:
He said to his servant Gehazi, “Call the Shunammite.” So he called her, and she stood before him. Elisha said to him, “Tell her, ‘You have gone to all this trouble for us. Now what can be done for you? Can we speak on your behalf to the king or the commander of the army?’” She replied, “I have a home among my own people.” II Kings 4:12-13 (NIV)
Even though she was barren, she had not focused on what was missing in her life, but rather on what she did have-meaningful relationships. She was not concerned with climbing the social ladder; no need to speak to the king on her behalf, thank you. She had found contentment in her relationships. Many people will spend thousands of dollars to go to far away places and interact with strangers whom they will never see again rather than investing quality time in building meaningful relationships at home.
Our quest for more, more, more takes away time from the things that yield true riches-heartfelt fellowship and interactions with others.
Resist Covetousness: Proverbs 27:20 declares that “. . . the eyes of man are never satisfied.” This passage lets us know, then, that it is not our natural inclination to be content. Therefore, our spiritual eyes must be developed to the point that we can resist the desire to always want what we see. This requires conscious effort. Each day I am becoming more and more resistant to the magnet of discontentment. When my neighbor pulls out of his garage in my dream car, I do not feel a twinge of discontentment. I rejoice that my ten year-old auto is paid for, looks good, and works fine. As far as I am concerned, keeping up with the Jones’ is sheer insanity. Of course I love beautiful things. I visit model homes and get great decorating ideas. I implement the ones that are within the realm of good stewardship and refuse to spend a second bemoaning the fact that certain extravagancies (though impressive) would reflect poor stewardship when so many others are suffering financially. Such a mind-set could only be the work of the Holy Spirit.
During these tough economic times, it will behoove leaders and lay people to wage war against discontentment. Don’t be a victim of marketing campaigns designed to make you feel “less than” in one way or the other. We must learn “. . .the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” (Philippians 4:13 (NIV))/
Excerpted from Show Me the Money by Deborah Pegues