This week we spent time looking at contentment, and to start with we asked “what is contentment?”.
The answer that most people give is that contentment is being happy with what you have. In many ways this is true, however, it is a little too broad. If we are happy with what we have got, then we would not want to grow and we would be content with every aspect of our lives.
I don’t know about you, but I’m not content with all aspects of my life – and I shouldn’t be either. I should never be content that I have a sufficient relationship with Christ - I should always want more of the Lord. The Psalmist said “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God” (Ps 42:1). Clearly we should desire God – which would indicate that we should never be content with our love of Him or the depth of our knowledge of Him.
So how do we define contentment? Contentment is the fruit of having our values right. We’ve looked at values – the Bible says “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Luke 12:36). The question is (once again) where is your treasure? The answer to this question will determine whether you are content or not.
There are a couple of key passages in the new testament on contentment. The first is in Phil 4:11-13 where Paul explains that he has learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need and remain content. He follows this statement by saying that “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Phil 4:13). The secret to Paul doing what he does in his ministry is not a league of financial supporters but faith in an all powerful God who is working for the same causes as Paul. Paul’s contentment is based in his faith.
We see something similar in Heb 13:5 where the author says “Keep your life free from the love of money and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave your nor forsake you”". The author also links contentment and Christ together here – we are to be content because we have Christ who will never leave us.
What both of these passages point at is that Christ is infinitely more valuable than anything we could have on earth. If we value God appropriately, we will be focused on him, not money and not the world around us. Thus we will be content – not because we see that we have all we need on this world (we may not) but we have all that we need – and indeed all that is valuable in the universe.
If we understand the value of God, then if we have him we are wealthy beyond our wildest dreams – even if we have nothing on earth, but have Him, we are still more wealthy than we understand.