Contentment is a subject we don’t often talk about in today’s day and age. In fact, I may even go so far as to say it is sometimes looked down upon. How often have you heard, “You are really going to wear clothes from there?” Or “I can’t believe you’re willing to drive that!” My favorite may even be the “Don’t you think you deserve better?”
We live in a world where we are trying to keep up with the Jones’. We “need” to have the nicest house, the newest furniture, and the next best things all the time. Many families send their kids to daycare, not because they need to be a two parent income but because, “How can I live with myself if little Junior doesn’t have the best game system in town or get to play travel ball?”
Is there something wrong with a nice house or fashionable clothes? Absolutely not! But I think you’ll agree with me that the more we desire, the less fulfilled we often feel.
So what does the Word of God say about contentment? Here are a couple of verse that come to my mind.
Philippians 4:11 says, “…I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”
I Timothy 6:6 “…Godliness with contentment is great gain.”
I Timothy 6:8 “Having food and raiment let us be therewith content.”
This morning, however, God brought me to a short passage of Scripture that completely blew me away and left me in tears of praise and thankfulness for the entire day. The verse is found in Hebrews 13:5.
Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
As I was pondering this verse today, I asked my kids to read it along with me as we explained some of the words and their meanings.
In this case, “conversation” is referring to lifestyle.
“Covetousness” refers to a strong desire for something someone else has.
“Contentment” is being satisfied, or happy.
And “forsake” means to abandon.
With the definitions under control, I asked them to explain what they thought it meant. The older two (6 and 7) were quick to understand the beginning. “Don’t always want what other people have, and just be happy with what you have.” But then my seven year old got very confused. “I don’t understand,” she said, “Why God would just change the subject in the middle of a verse. He goes from telling you what not to do, to what to do, and then just goes on to talk about something totally different.”
At that moment, God spoke to my soul and said, “look at that little word F-O-R.” A synonym for “for” is sometimes “because.”
Why should we not live a covetous lifestyle? Why should we be content with what we have? Because He hath said He will NEVER leave us nor forsake us.
What an amazing truth!
I would like to say we shouldn’t covet because coveting is a sin (it’s one of the 10 commandments, right?).
It would be pretty easy to say we shouldn’t covet because it hurts our spirit (and I’ve definitely found this to be true… remember “comparison is the thief of joy”.)
But God’s reason to be content and not covet is so much better than all of that. The Bible teaches that we don’t need to covet what someone else has because as children of God, we already have the absolute best thing we could ever imagine. We have the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ living within us. It doesn’t get any better than that.
So the next thing you feel that thought of, “I wish I had _____” or “I wish I could______” just take a minute to remember that while that might be nice, it doesn’t compare to the unfailing, unending relationship we can have through our Father.