Friday, January 11, 2008

Musings on Contentment and Stuff

I've been reminded recently that the greatest treasure is contentment.

Someone who has everything the modern world has to offer, but without contentment, is as wretched as the poorest beggar in the gutter of the poorest city in the world. If a person has property and houses and cars and gadgets and tools, but is plagued by discontent, he is to be pitied.

Of course we tend to think that people who have more than we do should be content - but that we can be discontent because we have less than they do. This is pure rationalization. Lack of contentment is the problem - not the lack of things.

Nothing in this world can ever bring contentment because our life here is temporary. Everything we have is perishable and will perish as we use it. When we die we will leave all of the stuff behind - without so much as a receipt to show for it. What we consume for the pleasure of the sensation is gone and the sensation lasts for only a few moments before it is gone too.

So, what's the answer? Nihilistic despair? Epicurean abandon? An existential leap of faith?

We need something that transcends our earthly life. We need a purpose that goes beyond the accumulation of stuff and makes sense of our mortality.

Our need is met by our Creator - the infinite, eternal, self-existent God. In knowing Him through His revelation of Himself, and in joining Him in the pursuit of His glory, we find a purpose that gives us perspective. Mortality is no longer a barrier because we have found the secret of eternal life that is continuous, conscious and corporeal.

The stuff this world offers cannot be our goal - it can only be a means to achieve our goal of bringing glory to God. When God's glory is our goal, we can have contentment because our situation is always adequate for the purpose. If we have enough, we praise God! If we need more, we depend on God! If we have more than enough, we share it in the name of God!

(1Tim 6:6-10) ¶ Now godliness with contentment is great gain.
7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
8 And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.
9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.
10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

1 comment:

MomEee said...

Wow, after a week filled with emergency repairs, this was very humbling. I should be beyond content because God has so richly blessed us! Thanks for the reminder.