“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.” (1 Timothy 6:6-8)
Contentment. Those who have it scarcely think about it. Those who don’t have it wish they did, and usually think that all they need is just a little more of… something… and then they’ll have contentment.
But the whole idea of contentment is that we don’t wish we had something that we don’t. Contentment is being perfectly happy with what we have. So how do we achieve it?
The answer to the question is, like many things relating to our faith, both simple and complex. Paul’s words to Timothy make it sound so simple – “If we have food and clothing, we will be content.” Most of us have food and clothing; are we content?
Weeding through our hearts and minds to understand why we want what we don’t have certainly seems more complicated than the question, “Do I have food and clothing.” Our chronic lack of contentment might show itself in different ways for each of us. Is it the stuff you wish you had? Maybe it’s a position you hold, either at work or in your social life, and you wish you had more recognition or respect. Is it a relationship, like Rick Springfield who just wishes he had Jessie’s girl? Maybe you just wish you had a change of place.
All discontentment boils down simply to a lack of faith. If I believe God is good, then I know that whatever he has given me today is good enough for me. To wish I had more or different is to say, “God, what you’ve given me isn’t enough. It isn’t good enough. I want more.”
Whenever we experience a lack of faith, our first step is to go back to the cross. See your Savior, who was so good he gave himself up for you. Remember that if he gave that, then he won’t withhold anything good. Trusting in his goodness, you know you have forgiveness for your lack of contentment. Now, with that perspective of the cross, you can look at how God has blessed you, and how he has given you all you need.