Pop Quiz: List five essential principles for financial success.
How did you do? My guess is that several of these are on your list:
- Live on less than you make.
- Get out of debt and stay out of debt.
- Set goals and keep them.
- Use a budget.
- Work hard and work smart.
These, of course, are all great principles. But how many of you listed, or even considered “contentment?” Probably not many and with good cause: we simply don’t link contentment with financial wellbeing. Yet the Bible tells us that “Godliness with contentment does bring great profit.” I Timothy 6:6.
Contentment: A Misunderstood Word
The word contentment has, in many cases, gotten a bad rap in today’s “Go – fight – win” world. We tend to equate content people with laid back people, lackadaisical people or even lazy people. “Surely,” we think, “content people have little ambition or desire for change. Isn’t that what contentment means? Being satisfied with status quo?” We even quote Col 3:23, which is an admonition to “work unto the Lord” and conclude that the Bible must be contradicting itself by telling us to be content on the one hand and ambitious on the other.
But we are misunderstanding the biblical definition of contentment. Content people are every bit as ambitious as those who aren’t content; they simply know the source of their lives is in God instead of their own sweat. Content people realize that all will be well even if they don’t get the job they applied for or if they are laid off or if they are injured or sick. They know that the same God who is in charge of this universe is totally capable of taking care of them.
Contentment: An Antidote to Impulse Purchases
We live in a world full of advertisers who try to convince us that we can never be content unless we buy the product they are selling. And when we hear it often enough we start to believe it. For me, just when I start to pat myself on the back for my contentment, I walk through the tools section of Lowe’s or Home Depot and suddenly believe that I just HAVE to have this tool or gadget that was a million miles from my mind just seconds earlier.
Of course the purchase does not make me one bit happier and the problem is obvious: My contentment doesn’t come from stuff; it comes from the Lord.
Contentment: It Permeates All of Life
Contentment is more than a financial principle; it is a mindset which makes all of life better. Whether you are working on debt reduction, saving for an emergency or considering a career change, you need a contentment which transcends your immediate actions . . . a contentment which gives you a deep knowledge that even when life doesn’t work out as you hoped, the giver of life is still in control.
Paul wrote from his prison cell that he had learned to be content in whatever situation he found himself in (Phil 4:11). The more all of us learn that lesson, the more peace we will have in our lives and the more money we will have in our pockets.
Yes, contentment . . . contentment in the Lord . . . is not only important, but essential for our spiritual, emotional and financial success. The verse is worth repeating, “ . . . godliness with contentment does bring great profit.”
What are your thoughts on contentment? Are you content? Leave a comment!