This week, I’ve been reading through materials our church will use for its stewardship campaign. In the book, Enough, by Adam Hamilton, Hamilton talks a lot about contentment. I had to ask myself, “Am I content?” After I initiated the search engine on my life, I realized I am content in most areas. I am content with the family God has provided and the home we live in. Although I am aging, I am generally content with the way I look and with the gifts God provided me spiritually. However, before I could pat myself on the back in the area of contentment, a few items did pop up in my search. God reminded me I am not always content with the clothes I wear and the car I drive. In fact, not long after I examined myself, I ordered a pair of new jeans on line and used my credit card to pay for them. I also realized most of the credit card debt I have incurred has to do with my desire for nice clothes. As for the car, I have always loved high performance vehicles. When I was a child, I had a “wish box” and in it was a list of all the cars I dreamed of owning one day. I think it had something to do with the fact my mother could never afford to buy a new car and was still driving her 1961 Ford Fairlane when I was in high school. The current car I drive has over 100,000 miles on it and I am itching for a new one. Is that wrong? I believe it is when you don’t really need to replace the car just yet.
I know now that I have a ways to go before I am totally content in all areas and it is through the Lord’s strength I will find this contentment. In Philippians 4:10-13, the Apostle Paul discusses his own walk in contentment:
“…for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”
Adam Hamilton provides “four keys to contentment” based on the Philippians verse. According to Hamilton, the four keys include the “secret” Paul referred to in the letter.
1. Remember that it could be worse
2. Ask yourself, “How long will this make me happy?”
3. Develop a grateful heart.
4. Ask yourself, “Where does my soul find true satisfaction?”
For me, the last key to contentment really spoke to me because my soul does not find true satisfaction in a pair of new jeans. Most of the time, they don’t fit right and I’m unhappy with them. My soul finds true satisfaction in the things of the Lord and in the work he calls me to do for Him.
It is my desire to be content in all areas and I am praying to be wiser about my spending on clothes and cars. I believe discontentment in any area of our life is a reflection of how content we are with what the hand of God has provided us. If we look at it that way, perhaps we would be more satisfied with our lives and possessions.