Contentment as Wealth

By Dudley Hall Published on April 14, 2015

DUDLEY HALL — “But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment.”  I Timothy 6:6 (NAS)

My father bought a small farm from my grandfather back when he was first married. He reared five children and sought to train them to work hard and accept responsibility. In his latter years he piddled around with a few head of cattle and spent a lot of time sitting under the big oak tree in his yard. It was in that setting that a discussion took place that impacted my life.

I suggested that the old pickup truck he was using might need to be retired. It had dents on top of dents. “It runs alright,” he said. After some silence I ventured another suggestion. “You really enjoy watching the ball games on TV. Why don’t we get you a better TV with a bigger screen?”

“I can see that one alright,” he answered.

We sat for a while as I studied his responses. Neither he nor I had a lot of money, but either one of us could have afforded my suggested upgrades. “You seem very content,” I said. “You always have been. How did you reach that level of contentedness? It seems that most of the world can’t wait to get the newest and best widget.” He laughed.

“ A long time ago, I just decided to like what I have instead of wanting what I don’t have.”

I realize that that attitude taken to its extreme would impede progress and could lead to non-production, but there is a correcting truth there that can offer freedom from materialistic bondage. In a world gone mad over bigger and better, appreciation for what we have has been lost. Contentment is seen as passive — thus negative. But the lack of contentment creates turmoil in the soul and consequently sells lots of medications.

Sadly, as the apostle instructs Timothy, some use a form of religion to get gain. They sell their ministry by appealing to the consumer demands of the listeners. They promise financial gain for those who follow their particular instructions. People who have not found their supply in God’s faithfulness are susceptible to promises of gaining earthly wealth. The unscrupulous minister takes advantage of this weakness and exploits them. Both the preacher and the people “who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction.” I Timothy 6:9 (NAS)

The key to contentment is a consciousness of the Father’s love, which assures that circumstances do not determine the level of our joy. As we share his life, we rejoice in his faithful provision of our needs. Since we no longer need possessions as trophies of our significance, we are free to be grateful for what we have and to ask for what we need. Materialism is at odds with contentment. Money can’t buy it. It is more valuable than all the world’s riches. It is ours for free just because we are his children. Maybe today would be the right time to decide to be grateful for what we have, rather than yearn for what we don’t.

Join me.

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