Heb 13:5 Be ye free from the love of money; content with such things as ye have: for himself hath said, I will in no wise fail thee, neither will I in any wise forsake thee.
2Co 12:9 And he hath said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my power is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
1Ti 6:8 but having food and covering we shall be therewith content.
How many of you have ever felt like you just didn’t have enough? Not enough paycheck to pay all your bills. Not enough love to make living worthwhile. Not enough career to love your current job. Not enough God. Not enough time. And, most resoundingly, not enough money.
We all know that the love of money is the root of all evil (1 Titus 6:10). But many times we’ll feel wracked with longing for a better job, more money, a bigger house or a better car. We feel like we don’t have enough.
Jesus said he came to give us life and it more abundantly (John 10:10). So we automatically assume that abundant life comes with more material things as well. Sure, we all want peace and contentment, but we’re willing to settle for being the person in our family who makes the most money, has the nicest clothes or can afford to travel the world. What’s abundant life without being able to impress your friends with your importance? What’s the point of having money, we often hear, without having the power that comes along with it?
What’s life really about? Is it about what you have or is it about what you need? Because I bet as you’re reading this, all your needs are met. You have enough to eat. You have some place to sleep. You can get around either with a private car or public transportation.
You have a job that allows you to pay most or all of your bills. You have some type of roof over your head. You are whole and well and able to take care of yourself. Your most basic needs have been met.
Yet it still often feels like it’s not enough.
God calls us to contentment. A popular definition of contentment is being happy with the things you’ve got (and not thinking about the things you don’t). Are you content with the things you've "got?" Or do you find yourself wishing for more?
God’s definition of contentment can be found in the above three scriptures. In Hebrews 13:5, He tells us to be content with such things as we have, for He is always with us and will never forsake or leave us. In 2Cor 12:9, He tells us His Grace is sufficient for us, the sufficient in this scripture being the same in meaning as the contentment in Hebrews 13:5. Finally, in 1Titus 6:8, we are told to be content, having food and clothing to cover our bodies. The "content," "sufficient" and "content" listed in preceding three scriptures share the same meaning, namely: to “be content, be enough, suffice, be sufficient.(Strong's Concordance)” In other words, God is telling us that because He is with us (and will never leave us), because His Grace is sufficient for us and because we have food and clothing, we should be content.
How does that make you feel? Does knowing that you should lessen your desire to have material things or do you think you are entitled to the material things as well? I pose this question because it’s an important distinction to make.
If you find yourself still not very content, what steps can you take to become more? How can you truly settle down, focus on the now and find contentment with the things that God has given you - right now, today?
A hint can be found in the second scripture, where God tells us that His Grace is sufficient for us and that His power is made perfect in our weakness.
Our true contentment can only come when we lift the responsibility for being strong from our shoulders and allow His strength to overtake us. In other words, the more we pretend we can do it all ourselves – and draw on our own resources – the less likely it is that His power will lead, guide and empower us. The more we do in our own strength and power, the less room His Grace has to work its magic in our lives - guiding us towards the contentment that He has promised us.
The take-away from this is that contentment comes with the head knowledge that we are to be that way because of our relationship with God, but is more firmly established the more we lean on God in the face of our weakness. We are simply not designed to be strong, all the time, on our own. By allowing His Grace to take root, expand and fill our inner spirits, we are also accessing that ever-so-elusive contentment that comes with carrying our problems to God and allowing His peace to settle on our hearts and minds (Philippians 4:6-7).
Contentment, then, does not come from self-sufficiency, the love of money (or the things it can buy) or by operating solely on our own strength. Contentment comes from recognizing that God is our strength, relying on Him and turning aside from our love of material things to develop a soul-satisfying relationship with Him. We were designed to be this way – in sync, in love and in step with our Creator. Develop your relationship with God and increase your level of contentment today.