The world around us constantly drives an attitude of discontent into us. It always insists we should want more and always makes as if someone who lacks the ambition to have more is a loser or not to be praised.
That’s the world. However, the Holy Spirit says something different in 1 Tim 6.
6 Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, 7 for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. 8 But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. 9 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. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.
Something of this want to have more has also crept into teachings in the church, most visible in something known as the “prosperity gospel”, which I’m not a fan of.
Our lives are very much a seeking for contentment, happiness and joy — and there is nothing wrong with us seeking these things! The problem is that the world says we can find them in what it has to offer: lots of money, lots of property, lots of cars, lots of stuff, lots of girls / guys, lots of sex, lots of fame, even lots of knowledge. And we believe it.
1 Tim 6 is referring specifically to finances, offering something counter-cultural and hardly praised by man: contentment with your lot.
Of course, when one looks at the poor it may be a little unfair to say to them that they must be ‘content’ with their hunger or whatever, but that really is a different story altogether. For those who are not poor, contentment with the basics – simplicity – is better than discontent and the need to always have, and have more.
However, the quest for contentment can actually come to its end pretty easily. Contentment, true contentment, is actually found in Christ Jesus. In Philippians 2 Paul talks about how he now considers everything he gained as ‘rubbish’ so that he may gain Christ. Clearly he knew there was a treasure far greater that everything the world offers us.
Contentment, peace and joy knocks at the door – but will we let Him in? Or will we be too busy gazing (or rather, coveting) out the back window at our neighbour’s house?
Like the scripture says – those who pursue the riches of this world pierce themselves with many pangs. It’s not worth it.
Truth be told, there really is no need for someone who earns two million a year to live much differently to someone who earns, say, R400,000 a year or thereabouts. Those who earn more just have more to give, really, but the pursuit of stuff will get no one anywhere in the quest for contentment and joy.
Simplicity really is sweeter – and a lot less complicated.
Those who pursue Christ will find much more than they even dreamed. Yeah, it’s tough, but finding true treasure takes a lot of digging and a lot of getting dirty – but it’s always worth it!
Ah, it feels so great, so sweet, to be content 🙂
Here is a brilliant comment my wife says with regards to this: “Detox your material system!” Lol, brilliant!