Duration: 365 days
SECRETS OF CONTENTMENT
Today’s Bible Reading: 1 Timothy 6:3–21
A single mom shopping at a department store a week before Christmas summed up her spending spree: “I buy now and sort it out later,” she acknowledged with a laugh. “That’s what credit cards are for.” With two young kids, a mortgage and a nanny to pay, this woman reflects the way a lot of us live—always thinking that just “one more thing” will make us happy.
A label exists for this attitude: Affluenza. Like a contagious disease, we want more … and more … and more!
The apostle Paul writes throughout his letters about the struggle between wanting more and being content, often pointing out that the two don’t mix very well. He warned that love of money drives people away from God. “Some people, eager for money,” he observed to Timothy, “have wandered from the faith” (verse 10). Paul’s biggest concern involved people who wanted wealth more than they wanted God. People who desire to get rich “fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction” (verse 9). These people have believed the lie that money will buy them happiness.
So what does bring contentment? The apostle summed up the Christian ideal: “If we have food and clothing, we will be content with that” (verse 8).
Wait a minute! Did he really say we can be satisfied with just the basics—like a meal, a warm winter coat and a roof over our heads? Yes. Paul knew that we can’t find happiness in the stuff we collect or in the conditions around us. Perhaps the apostle had recognized this secret of contentment during one of the many times he had found himself languishing in a prison cell.
We find contentment when we realize that the things of the world can’t really satisfy us. We find it when we recognize that only knowing God and living for him bring true satisfaction, when we acknowledge that our relationship with Christ provides the essential meaning and security in our lives. We find contentment when we understand that this relationship with Christ also assures us of eternal life—in which even our deepest desires will be fully satisfied.
To Take Away
- How hard is it for you to be content with only the essentials of life—like food, clothing and shelter?
- In 1 Timothy and elsewhere in Scripture, Paul provides an unusual definition of being content. How would you define contentment? What would it take for you to be truly content with life?
- What steps can you take to find deep and ultimate satisfaction in Christ?
In Other Words
“If a person gets his attitude toward money straight, it will help straighten out almost every other area in his life.” —Billy Graham
Copyright © 2006 by Zondervan.