I’m a big fan of Rick Warren the founder and senior pastor of Saddleback Church, in Lake Forest, California.
Years ago, I read a brief essay on Contentment in one of his daily devotionals. Recently I came across the essay while going through some files and was reminded of the timeless nature of the truths shared by Warren in his writings. I hope you are as moved by these thoughts as I continue to be. Enjoy.
Trust God By Learning To Be Content
What is contentment? Contentment means my happiness is not dependent upon circumstances. Most people get caught in "when" thinking -- "When I get such and such, then I'll be happy." "When I get to a certain level economically... When I get a certain job ... When I can retire ... then I'll be happy. When I get the house paid off... When I get the bills paid off... then!"
God says "No, once you get there, you'll always want something else. You'll always want more." Somebody once asked the billionaire Howard Hughes, "How much money does it take to make a man happy?" He said, "Just a little more."
God says, "I want you to learn contentment." It's not about - not having goals, it's about saying, "My happiness is dependent upon the Lord not on my circumstances in life."
Paul learned contentment. He says in Philippians 4:12, "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." (NIV)
Contentment is something you must learn. It's not something that comes naturally. I, by my nature, am naturally discontent. And so are you.
How do you learn to be content? Stop comparing. God says it's stupid to compare yourself to others. You compare houses, clothes, cars. I bought a computer a couple of weeks ago and I was so excited about it. Then I opened a magazine and there's a newer model!
We're constantly comparing -- and comparing causes discontent. And because of discontent God says, "You can't handle what I want to give you because you're putting too much priority on things in your life." Can God trust you with wealth? Have you learned to be content?
I don't know why but God has chosen money to be the acid test of our faith. We spend our entire lives trying to make it, earn it, save it, spend it, and use it. So, God chooses to use finances as the acid test of how much you trust Him. He wants us to come to him and ask when we have a need and learn to be content, that our happiness isn't dependent on how much or how little we've got. If you don't learn contentment, you'll never be happy. You'll always want more.