3 men were walking on a beach one afternoon when they came across an old lamp. The first man picked it up and began to rub it and out popped a genie. The genie said I am here to give each of you one wish each.
The first man did not hesitate he said I want a million dollars – POOF, instantly a million dollars appeared before him.
The second man said I want a mansion her on the beach – POOF, a beautiful mansion appeared right before his eyes and the genie handed him the keys.
This got the third guy really thinking about his wish, finally he stated Make me irrespirable to women – POOF the genie turned the man into a large box of chocolate!
What are you wishing for? Suppose you had three wishes; what are the items you would wish for that give you happiness & make your life more enjoyable?
We live in a culture today that tells us there is always something more, something better, something we have to have.
Today as we look at the attitude of contentment, contentment says, “I have everything I need.” I have enough.”
What steps can we take to transform our life from an attitude of coveting to an attitude of contentment?
I believe the answer is found in 1 Timothy 6:6-8, “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.”
First, notice in verse 6, that contentment has a partner: like Salt and Pepper, like Niki and I, like Aggies and Championships. Oh wait, the last two do not go together! “Godliness with contentment.”
As we compare these two qualities –it would look something like this:
Think of it like a math equation: Godliness + Contentment = Great Gain.
Like 2+2=4, no other substitute will work!
How about: Godliness + Prosperity = Great Gain? No, that’s not the equation. When we focus on material gain we inevitably worry. The more we have, the more we have to worry about. How am I going to protect it? How am I going to save it? How am I going to invest it? How am I going to insure it? How am I going to avoid taxes on it? How am I going to keep from losing it? I read a study that said insomnia increases with income. Prosperity may not equal great gain, but great pain!
Well if too much is bad, how about Godliness + Poverty = Great Gain? That’s not the equation either because a poor person can struggle with coveting. It’s not about more or less it’s a heart issue.
Surely its: Godliness + Control = Great Gain. No, because like a dog chasing its tail, we will never be able to control everything. God will make sure of that.
Many well-meaning people think that Godliness + Family Harmony = Great Gain. “If I have a perfect marriage or perfect family, I’ll be happy.” Don’t put all your happiness eggs in this basket either. There is no perfect family. At least one of your children will make sure of that!
Here are Two More Steps That Lead To Contentment
- Look to Eternity
1 Timothy 6:7 “For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either”
I was present at each of my three children’s births. It was awesome to see these new lives emerge, and I’ll never forget that they were slimly and naked! Also, it was strange that they didn’t have any cell phones, video games or 401k, nothing! We leave the same way- with nothing! The Spanish proverb says, “There are no pockets in a burial suit.” Or as American’s say, “you never see a hearse pulling a U-Haul!” When people ask about a deceased person, “how much did they leave behind?” The answer is always the same. All of it! In 50-75 years everything you have will belong to someone else. Are you ready to stand before Christ?
We have only one life and it soon will pass, only what’s done for Christ will really last.
Think about all the grains of sand on all the beaches in the entire world representing eternity. Then pick up one single grain of sand. This represents our life here and now. Are you only living for right now or do you think about eternity?
- Let enough be enough
1 Timothy 6:8 “If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.”
If you’re an American you’re rich. I don’t care if you’re on welfare; if you’re an American you’re rich and in the top 1% of income of the world.
I’ll never forget reading the economist Robert Heilbroner’s walk-through of what it would take to transform the average American home into the typical dwelling of the majority of the world’s inhabitants. “We would have to begin by invading our house to strip it of its furniture. Everything goes: beds, chairs, tables, TV, lamps. All that can be left for the family is a few old blankets, a kitchen table, and a wooden chair. When it comes to clothing, each member of the family may keep his oldest suit or dress and one shirt or blouse. The head of the family gets a pair of shoes, but not the wife or children.
Then comes the kitchen. All the appliances would have to come out, and the cabinets would have to be emptied. All that can stay is a box of matches, a small bag of flour, and some sugar and salt. A few moldy potatoes, already in the garbage can, have to be taken back out, for they will provide much of that night’s meal. We can add a handful of onions and a dish of dried beans, but that’s all. Everything else goes: meat, fresh vegetables, canned goods, any crackers or candy. All gone.
But not only do we have to strip the house this way, but we also have to dismantle the bathroom, shut off the running water, and take out all electric wires. Next, we take away the house itself. The family must move into the tool shed. Then government services are removed. No more mail delivery, no more fire department. There is a school, but it is three miles away and consists of only two classrooms. There can’t be any hospitals or doctors nearby. The nearest clinic will be ten miles away and tended by no more than a midwife. It can be reached by bicycle, provided that the family has a bicycle, which is unlikely. Finally, we come to money. The family can only be allowed a cash hoard of five dollars. That is only allowed to prevent the main breadwinner of the family from experiencing the tragedy that came upon one poor laborer who went blind because he could not raise the $3.94 to be cured.
Can you be bold enough to say, “I have enough?”
I have enough. I just need to keep reminding myself. I struggle with contentment. Lord change my attitude.
Check out one of our “Lord Change My Attitude” Growth Groups that will go into much more detail and study about each attitude.