S196P3 – Growth spurts: contentment

1 Tim. 6:6-8

Now godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.  And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.

I was watching a documentary about lottery winners, and of course it featured big houses, nice cars, and wads of cash.  It also featured some young kids who all of a sudden found themselves having everything they thought they wanted and needed.  One of those kids in particular stuck out to me because she really seemed carefree and content, like she had it made.  After her grandfather won his jackpot, she was the only teenager in that small town with her own armada of new sports cars, one for each day of the week.  The next time I heard of that young girl the news was tragic.  She had died of a drug overdose at the tender age of 17.  It was a sad testament to the dangers of excess when so much is just not enough to bring contentment.

Contentment is really about control.  At the heart of satisfaction is the ability to think or feel a certain way regardless of what one has or lacks.  It is the ability to keep one’s emotions and opinions from being controlled by possessions and finances.  These verses speak directly to that.  We came here with nothing, and we will leave with nothing.  If that is true, then any material gain during these lives is bonus.  Any shelter is still shelter and should be enough not to change one’s attitude.  The same goes for food, clothing, and all the other things we need in this world.  Regardless of how our provision looks, whether lean or hearty, whether first-class or bargain bin, our contentment should be constant and independent of the measure of our provision.

If we are truly content, our circumstances and our wealth will have no power over how we love and obey our Father.  They will have no control over how we appreciate and value this life.  They will have no control over our joy or faith.  Contentment is the place where we realize that we already have all we need in God and everything else is bonus.  When we understand that we are entitled to nothing more, that is when we can see all of God’s blessings for the gifts they are.  As we understand more of God over time, our contentment should grow as well.  Father, make us a Church who is content with You alone and appreciative of every gift You bestow on us.