Contentment in Material Things Yields Happiness: 21 Benefits
The first murder ever to be committed in the history of Mankind occurred because of jealousy. Interestingly, the meaning of the murder’s name was, “to acquire/to get.”
That man was Cain, the firstborn son of Adam and Eve. He killed his brother, Abel, because of jealousy over Abel’s good standing with God. Before committing his evil act, God saw Cain’s envious heart and offered to forgive and restore him. But Cain was so enraged he rejected God’s mercy and wisdom and slaughtered his brother. You can read this entire account in Genesis 4:1-17.
Cain’s life is an example of jealousy to the extreme. We can apply his story to man’s desire to acquire material things and the jealousy which often results from not having something our neighbor has or something the lovely smiling person in the advertisement is enjoying.
|By Connie Wohlford|
Sadly, too many people’s lives are defined by the feverish acquisition of things. They simply cannot be content with having basic needs met along with a few frills added in just for fun.
In today’s culture, it appears that many people have a problem with differentiating between needs and wants.
Needs consist of things required to maintain life—food, water, clothing and shelter. Granted, in order to maintain needs a job is required which may call for transportation, tools, a phone, and possibly a computer. But even these necessities don’t have to be top of the line or excessive.
Wants consist of things we desire to have but are not necessary to maintain life. When shopping, I often ask myself, “Can I live without this item?” If the answer is, “Yes,” I will often not make the purchase. This has saved me from spending many dollars on things which, in the grand scheme of things, would have been unwise use of my money.
The Bible gives wise counsel on the subject: “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. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness” (1 Timothy 6:6-11 NKJV).
Consider the immense truth of verse 6, that “godliness with contentment is great gain.”
Godliness is sincere faith in and devotion to God. Contentment is being in a state of fulfillment and satisfaction despite circumstances. Put these two attributes together and you find a person who trusts God in all matters, is continually joyful, and takes adversity in stride. This person’s countenance is always pleasant. They don’t complain and are desirable to be around. This person is a giver, not a taker. I want this person for my friend. Though I often fall short, I want to be this person.
This is a powerful person. The “great gain” Paul refers to will have no limit in benefits. To name a few, this person will:
1. have more peace of mind.
2. acquire wealth instead if debt.
3. not be a slave to the lender (Proverbs 22:7).
4. be free from the bondage of interests cutting into their resources.
5. not be jealous of others over material things (Exodus 20:17).
6. have fewer arguments with their spouse over finances.
7. set a good example for their children and others.
8. have fewer disagreements about money with their children.
9. have money available to help others in need.
10. have money to give to the building of God’s Eternal Kingdom.
11. stress less.
12. be healthier because of less stress.
13. be more pleasant to be around.
14. not be given to complaining or criticism.
15. be more desirable as a friend.
16. be more desirable as a lifelong mate.
17. be less likely to take on a victim mentality.
18. spend less time and frustration shopping, returning, maintaining, and dealing with material things.
19. build strength of character in the ability to say, “no.”
20. not stray from the faith in greediness (v10).
21. be less likely to fall into the snare of the temptation of foolish and harmful lusts which drown man in destruction and perdition (damnation) (v9).
This list of benefits of godliness with contentment could continue on and on. What are others you can think of?
The Apostle Paul, who overcame many trials, wrote: “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through Him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:11b-13 NIV). Paul was in jail when he wrote these words.
Paul gave credit to God for giving him strength to do all things. We too can do all things God calls us to and we can avoid doing all things he calls us to not do. God calls us to be content and with the help of His Spirit in us, we can do this.
Like Paul, we can be content in all circumstances because we can trust God to meet our needs and to never leave us nor forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6, Hebrews 13:5).
The Mighty One—the Lord our God—is all powerful and bestows power on His children. Because of Him we can be content and have, in ourselves, the power of contentment.
Let’s pray: Holy Father, I know You are all powerful, that You love me with unfailing love, and that You want what’s best for me in all situations. Please help me to know the difference between my needs and my wants and to trust You for the necessities in my life. Help me to be like Paul and be content in all circumstances. I praise You and thank You, in Jesus name—Amen.
©Copyright 2018 Connie Wohlford