Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,”
Are you content? One definition of contentment is “the state of being happy and satisfied”. So do you have it? I am asking myself that very question. The Scripture verse above makes it a commandment for us.
We are now in November and this month brings a great challenge to our contentment. This is the month where in the U.S. we celebrate the great Thanksgiving Holiday.
The idea of course is to take a moment and pause to give thanks for all of God’s blessings. But, like with every holiday, the original purpose can be overshadowed if we are not careful.
We typically gather with family and have a great meal with so many great dishes. The first challenge is being able to say “I have had enough”. Since all the food is usually so good, that’s extremely hard.
However, November has also become the month where on “Black Friday” we kick-off the Christmas holiday season with a mad dash to get “great deals” on all those great gifts we want to give to our friends and family (and of course ourselves :-)).
There is always a temptation for us to want more and more things. So how do you and I resist that temptation?
I believe the secret of contentment is a thankful heart. A heart that says: “I shall not want“. A heart that is satisfied with what we already have. When we are thankful, we can resist the urge to have more and more things.
Don’t get me wrong, having things is not bad. I want you to be wildly successful with your finances, but I don’t want any worldly possessions to become the priority for you and me.
So what are you thankful for? My list looks something like this:
- A loving heavenly Father that knows me and provided the Way for me to know Him. He delivered me from darkness and sin. In Christ, I have joy, peace, love, and the hope of eternal glory.
- God has blessed me with a beautiful wife who has been my best friend and greatest fan for over 10 years.
- A family that loves me and cares for me.
- I also have a very good job that allows me to use my skills and to take care of my family. For over 20 years, my job has given me the opportunity to interact with some great people from all over the world.
- Finally, I am in very good health. What more could a man ask for?
The Example of Thanksgiving
I do believe you can always have a thankful heart. Let me try to show you with one of my favorite Bible stories (from 2 Kings 7).
In the days of the divided Jewish kingdom, the Northern kingdom of Israel was at war with the Arameans. The people of Israel were under siege and without access to food. They were in desperate need and ready to give in and die.
God’s prophet Elisha had promised deliverance but as usual the people did not believe God. And here is where my heroes for the story come through. There were 4 lepers that were sitting at the city gate in Jerusalem.
These men, already excluded from society because of their condition, decided to take their chances and go to the camp of the Arameans to beg for food and mercy. In their own eyes, they were already dead anyway.
When they arrived at that camp, they realized that God had indeed delivered His people again. During the night He caused the Arameans to flee, leaving all of their provisions behind.
For these four men, their first reaction was a normal one. They looked to take care of their own needs first. They took items and food for themselves and hid them. They did that a couple of times until they realized their mistake.
They realized that they needed to share the good news of deliverance and the provisions with the rest of the people. When they did, it was indeed a time of rejoicing for everyone.
The Lessons of Thanksgiving
What are the thanksgiving lessons from this story?
- God will always come through and will provide for His people. Even when we lack the faith to believe Him. He is the Great Provider (Gen 22:14).
- Regardless of your current situation, you can always see God’s hand in your life and be thankful. He is the Good Shepherd (Psalms 23:1).
- Understanding that you have enough will lead you to share with others who are in need. The result of a thankful heart is a lifestyle of generosity that emulates the Great Giver (2 Corinthians 8:9).
As we go through this Thanksgiving month, we can remember to be thankful every day (I Thessalonians 5:16-18). And since we are thankful and content, we can now turn our attention to others.
Let’s think of someone who needs to share in our blessings. Someone who needs a word of encouragement, a bag of groceries, or a helpful hand to accomplish a task.
They are all around us and they all need good news. Let’s make sure you and I are involved in the process of sharing the many blessings God has given us.
Question: How content are you with what you have today?