How do we find true contentment? Is it to be found in the things we own or the size of our bank accounts? Should we look for contentment in our social groups or the amount of online followers we have? What about our careers and educational degrees and accolades? Maybe we just need to get around to completing that project we’ve been dreaming about for years. The truth is, people are racing around the clock to experience the kind of life satisfaction only Jesus can provide. He does provide contentment to those who seek him and, thankfully, he’s not hard to find.
The first Bible verse I ever remember reading and committing to memory is Hebrews 13:5:
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.”
This verse has become the closest thing to a life verse I have ever had. I need it because my flesh craves money and the security I think it can give. The dialogue in my mind generally looks like this, “If I had more money, I could…” The list is endless.
I have a wife and five daughters at home, so you can probably imagine the sort of items on my list. The possibilities are endless and the opportunities present themselves daily. When I allow fear to creep into my thoughts, the list gets more complicated and I begin to believe I’m failing as a husband and father when I’m not checking off my list.
Now, I know that my list consists of things that are not bad or sinful. I’m talking about day-to-day necessities with some splurges thrown in. Furthermore, taking care of the financial needs in your home is a sure sign you understand your role as a Christian. First Timothy 5:8 says it this way:
“Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”
My biggest hangup seems to be fear, which produces discontentment. I’m not the best in these moments at remembering the words of James, which say, “You do not have because you do not ask God.” Also, I’m the person he’s talking about when he says, “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures” (James 4:2-3).
The point is this: Jesus is more concerned about my heart than he is about my spending (and he is certainly concerned about my spending).
According to the Bible, two of Jesus’ favorite topics were money and hell. The money issue is a serious one because it can take a person’s eyes off of Jesus and put them on a path that leads to eternal separation from him. Your heart will determine your spending. Your heart will also determine your destiny. If your heart is connected to Jesus, your entire perspective on money will be different, so will your eternity. Jesus said it this way,
“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money” (Matthew 6:24).
All that being said, how do we find true contentment? I hope you already see where I’m going with all of this. Hebrews 13:5 teaches us how to be content with what we already have. I want to share some notes about this verse from the NIV Life Application Study Bible. The notes make the point far better than I could. It might be helpful to go back to the top of the page and reread the verse before moving on. Here goes…
How can we learn to be more content? Strive to live with less rather than desiring more; give away out of your abundance rather than accumulating more; relish what you have rather than resent what you’re missing. We become content when we realize God’s sufficiency for our needs. Christians who become materialistic are saying by their actions that God can’t take care of them–or at least that he won’t take care of them the way they want. Insecurity can lead to the love of money, whether we are rich or poor. The only antidote is to trust God to meet all our needs. See God’s love expressed in what he has provided, and remember that money and possessions will all pass away.
That last sentence leads us to another great verse.
The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever (1 John 2:17).
We could now chase down the question: what is the will of God? Maybe that’ll be a topic for another day. Lets just settle with the fact that our contentment is found in God. He is our contentment. He gives great gifts, yes, but his son is the greatest gift of all. Furthermore, he never leaves us or forsakes us.
At his death, John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, is reported to have said, “The best of all is that God is with us!” Those are powerful dying words. They are powerful because they are true. God is with us!