Contentment and Christianity

What does it take to be content? I recently heard a person being interviewed on the radio that had been doing a study about what it took to make people happy. One thing he discovered was the fact that there are plenty of unhappy people in the world. When he started interviewing people to find out why, many of them said it was because of a lack of money. He then asked what kind of average salary it would take to make them happy. The results showed the ones that were currently making $50,000 dollars a year said on average it would take $100,000/year. So is $100,000 the answer? Apparently not, because he found a group making that much and they were not happy either. How much did they need? $250,000/year!!

I am sure most of you are not surprised that money is not the key to contentment. I think the first step toward being content is to understand it is an attitude. Listed below are some quotes concerning contentment from some of the world’s great philosophers-

“He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have.”
― Socrates
“Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.”
― Epictetus
“I have learned to seek my happiness by limiting my desires, rather than in attempting to satisfy them.”
― John Stuart Mill

All of these quotes indicate that proper attitude toward your possessions is really what contentment is all about. But as you look at these quotes I see something else that is important to understand. That is being able to understand the difference between wants and needs. I do not claim to be the all knowing expert on this subject. I have several things around the house that I thought I needed at one time that now serve no purpose except to give me something extra to gather dust. However, I think I am better that I used to be and I believe personal experience is probably the best teacher of this subject.

So how does contentment fit in with Christianity? I have 2 scriptures to look at to help us with this question.

Hebrews 13:5 – Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

As Christians we should be content. I have to admit it is discouraging to see the people claiming Christianity that devote the majority of their time and effort to obtaining things they do not have. As the scripture states, we have Christ at all times, what else do we need?! This brings me to my final thought for today.

1 Timothy 6:6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.

Contentment and godliness are 2 separate things. As shown by some of the quotes earlier in the posts, a lot of people understand the idea of what contentment is. I am sure we all know people that are quite content with limited possessions but have no relationship with God. We may also be aware of godly people that are not content. As Paul here wants Timothy to understand the benefits of having the proper attitude toward both of these qualities in his life, I think we should consider it in our lives also. Because we are bombarded with commercials for us to pursue the biggest and best of whatever the latest product is out there, it is easy to think “Gee, I sure would like one of those” I encourage all of us to avoid falling into that trap, because it is one of Satan’s weapons to draw us away from God.

I hope these thoughts are of some benefit to you. Have a nice day and please give me any feedback to help me make this blog helpful to you. I will have some more thoughts from Dobyville soon.

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