Hebrews 13:5, “Let your conduct be without covetousness, and be content with such things as you have”
1 Timothy 6:18, “Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share”
Webster defines content as feeling or manifesting satisfaction with one’s possessions, status, or situation. Have you ever noticed how cows having a whole field of green grass to feed on always seem to want those tasty patches of grass outside their pasture? Living in a rural area of New York, I have often seen cows stretching their heads through the fence, while right behind them is everything they need; excellent grazing land, beautiful shade trees, and a refreshing stream of cool water. What more could they want? As the old saying goes, “The grass always looks greener on the other side of the fence.” I have also made a similar observation of people. They too are like cows because no matter how much they accumulate, it seems they never have enough and are never content. The more they have, the more they want. They are constantly grasping, coveting, and seeking to obtain what doesn’t belong to them. How absolutely miserable they must be! What folly there is in discontentment! Is this a picture of you? As believers in Christ we too often display that same tendency. Something that belongs to someone else, or some talent or ability that is beyond our reach, can seem so much more appealing than what we already possess. Yet, the Lord wants us to be satisfied with what He has given to us.
Greed has toppled highly paid executives, brought down giant corporations, and cost thousands of workers their jobs and retirement funds. One columnist has written that unrestrained corporate greed is a greater threat than terrorism. Greed whispers in our ear that we would be happier if we had more money, more things, and more power. It creates discontent and a growing desire to do whatever it takes to gain position and possessions. However, the Bible commands us to trust in God, not in “uncertain riches” (1 Timothy 6:17). The apostle Paul told young Timothy that the way to overcome greed is to flee from it and to “pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness” (1 Timothy 6:11). And those “who are rich in this present age,” who have more than is needed, should “be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share”. My friend, contentment and generosity are the opposite of greed. We must humbly acknowledge God as the source of all we have, and share willingly and generously with others. Such generosity has eternal value. Since God measures our giving by the degree of our sacrifice (Mark 12:42-44), many who have little to give in this life will be immensely rewarded in the life to come. Thus, when we love Jesus more than money and possessions, we will find that He is the greatest treasure of our lives. We discover that knowing Him is the source of genuine satisfaction and contentment.
Contentment comes not from great wealth but from few wants.