Contentment is a very hard thing, especially in a wealthy culture.
You don’t think you’re wealthy? Plug your income into this quick calculator and you’ll see just how rich you are compared to the rest of the world.
My income, which seems meager to me, turned out to be among the top one half of one percent in the entire world. That’s sobering… especially given the fact that I often don’t feel satisfied with what I have.
We all know the feeling on some level.
- The newest model smart-phone.
- A new set of wheels.
- An upgraded laptop (or better yet, switch to a Mac).
- The flat screen TV you’ve always wanted.
- That new gadget that will make your hobby so much more fun.
You know the drill… just a little more and we’ll be content.
John D. Rockefeller, one of the most successful and wealthy American businessmen ever was once asked, “How much money is enough?”
His answer? “Just a little bit more.”
As followers of Jesus living in a wealthy society, how do we guide our families down the road of contentment rather than allow the culture to suck them into materialism and the discontent that comes with it?
There are two passages of scripture which I’ve found to be particularly helpful, for me and for my family. In the two of them we find 3 things that will lead us into discontent.
1 Misplaced love
If we love money we’ll become just like John D. Rockefeller… we’ll never have enough. We have to guard our hearts and examine our motives constantly to ensure that our only true love is Jesus Himself.
- Share your love for Jesus with your spouse and children. Tell them how much you love Him and why. Nothing is more appealing than the zeal of one who is truly in love.
- Make a list together of all the reasons Jesus is worthy of your highest love. (Examples: His love for us – 1 John 4:19, the changes He’s made in your life, the blessings He’s provided, etc.)
- Discuss the things that compete for His place as your most beloved. Bring it down to the level of every member of your family so they can see the issue clearly.
Notice the reason for being content with what we have: Jesus will never leave us and is on our side.
We don’t need more stuff or power or position in order to be secure. Jesus is our security and He’s promised that He always will be.
- Discuss the things that frighten you. Parents, lead the way by being honest with your kids.
- Compare those things to the care, power, and might of Jesus. Talk about which is greater.
- Read the last phrase of the verse together, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear.” Talk about the choice not to fear because of the security Jesus gives.
Here’s the other passage, Philippians 4:10-13
Paul knew what he was talking about. The man had experienced things we only read about.
Hunger. Beatings. Stonings. Shipwreck. Imprisonment.
He was chosen by God to suffer for the sake of Jesus’ name, and suffer he did (Acts 9:15-16, 2 Corinthians 11:24-28).
- Talk with your family about the reality of Jesus. He’s really alive. He’s truly living inside them if they’ve placed their faith in Him.
- Brainstorm all the differences those truths make in your lives. Be sure to apply it to every person’s age and place in life.
- Describe together what a typical day would look like if you truly counted on Christ being your strength in every situation.
Pray as a family for contentment
Jesus desires for your family to find their contentment in Him even more than you want it. Ask Him to partner with you, to help you guide your family into that place of true peace. He’ll be faithful to do it.
One of my favorite bands is Switchfoot. If you’re around our house for any length of time, you’ll probably hear one of their tunes blasting. Everyone in the house loves their music because they continually produce songs that are artistically excellent and have meaningful, deep, challenging lyrics.
The video below is one of their lesser-known songs, but in my opinion, one of the more powerful.
It’s a prayer to the Holy Spirit, asking Him to come into the singer’s life to “be my song, fill my lungs. I won’t need anything but You. I found all that I want, all that I long for in You.”
Will you dare to make that your prayer?
For yourself? For your family?
hat is one prayer Jesus will never leave unanswered.