I enjoy watching children day-dream about the latest toy or gadget as seen on TV. Their eyes light up and often they cannot contain their excitement jumping for joy over the sheer possibility of owning it. Grandson #2, Noah, celebrates a birthday this month and he has several things on his list. Of course, he knows he can’t have it all, but that doesn’t keep him from asking. Truth is, there isn’t much difference between Noah and myself. I too, have a wish list. Are we violating some unwritten dictate from God when we day-dream and desire bigger and better?
Let’s face it – God created a marvelous thing when he designed our brain. He created within us the capability of desiring nice things, of day-dreaming ways to acquire such things. The least popular way to achieve these items seems to be ‘to work for it’. The credit card mentality of obtaining items before we can pay for them has moved us into the biggest ticket of debt ever associated to America. Therefore, the problem doesn’t seem to be desiring better and bigger; the problem seems to be getting it before we can pay for it. That all boils down to one thing – learning to be content with what we have (until we can pay for it).
Paul gave us a lesson in being content. When the little church in Philippi sent offerings, he was thankful, yes, but added, “Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need for I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:11-13) He certainly did not have a lifestyle of financial wealth, but he found the secret of contentment.
I would love to reveal a shortcut to this lifestyle of contentment, but there isn’t one. Hubby and I have worked hard almost all our adult lives. We both started working early in teen years and I am counting those years of raising children as real ‘working’ years. But all these facts have contributed to our state of contentment today. God’s blessings upon our work effort are clear indeed. His protection and provision were especially evident in our early years of providing for a family while investing time in our children. Both are equally important. We have prayed for and received the ability to be content with what we have.
For sure, things wear out and break, but until they do, I’m content in the state I am in. So the truth is – – I really like my home. I feel safe, secure and satisfied when spending a day at home. And I like my car. Its four years old, but it still takes me where I want to go and the air conditioning cools just find. My clothes feel good on me! (even my 2nd hand items) They let me be who I really am, not smaller, like most advertisers want me to be. I strive to reduce my waistline, but can enjoy being the size I am today!
Issues that determine our moral code (issues like debt) will come and go. Yet God’s word has not changed. God used the hard working ant and the lazy grasshopper for good example in Proverbs. When we saddle ourselves with unnecessary debt, we become slaves to the work-world and often bring doom and gloom to our households. Let’s learn from Paul and reassess our needs. “Let your conduct be without covetousness, be content with such things as you have,” (Hebrews 13:5) That may be one of the greatest abilities we could pass on to our children.