Sep 19, 2012

Wednesday in the Word: Contentment Changes Everything!

For I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

                                                            Philippians 4:11-13 (NIV)

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

                                                            1 Timothy 6: 6-10 (NIV)

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,
“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
So we say with confidence,
“The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”
                                                            Hebrews 13: 5-6 (NIV)
Contentment.  I will admit I’m bad at contentment.  I have written in the past about my enthusiasm for fine sporting goods.  I’m not alone, as a nation we are discontent.  You can see it in our spending habits.  The amount of consumer debt per household is astounding.  We borrow to afford the things we want today but can’t afford.  We try to fill the God shaped hole in our heart with the stuff we like and we call it retail therapy.  

This behavior—this discontent—leads to a bigger and more expensive lifestyle.  That leads to more debt, more stress and more stuff to take care of.  Instead of us owning our stuff and enjoying our lifestyle, our lifestyle and our stuff own us.  This ultimately impacts our financial plan.  A big lifestyle usually equals big debt and a need for big retirement accounts.  A little lifestyle is cheaper.  

Once we recognize the problem we go out and use the credit card to buy books by Dave Ramsey and Suze Orman in order to learn how to undo our debt problems.  (No criticism intended, these books do a great side bringing us back into a view of healthy stewardship.)  We spend the first half of our lives acquiring stuff and the second half being owned by that stuff.  Yikes!

What would it look like for the average American family to embrace contentment?
What would happen to their monthly budget?
What would happen to our financial plan and our need for retirement savings?
As Americans are we living out these verses on contentment?
How do these choices as individuals and families affect our church, our community and our country?
Could a spirit of godliness and contentment change our nation?

I’m preaching to the choir here.  Have you embraced contentment, and if so, how has it changed your life?
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