Tuesday, April 30, 2013

An Illusion of Necessity

But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. (1 Timothy 6:6-8)

Let me be the first to admit, I struggle with discontentment and regularly fight the urge to elevate so many things to the level of necessity in my life while trying not to covet the stuff that others have. I do not believe that I’m alone in this struggle; otherwise Scripture would not address the interaction between our hearts and treasures so many times. Yet, when I break through the struggle, I remember how blessed and thankful I am for the Lord’s abundant provisions; the purpose of this posting.

According to Scripture, food and clothing is the bare minimum for contentment. We have been blessed with so much and are rich in comparison. Paul’s words to Timothy at the end of the epistle must be considered:

As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life. (1 Timothy 6:17-19). 

My satisfaction must be found in Christ alone. Nothing else will provide fulfillment. Pastor and author Matt Chandler says it well, “No change of job, no increased income, no new home, no new electronic device, or no new spouse is going to make things better inside of you.” God’s rich provisions should result in thankfulness and an outward/eternal focus, bringing enjoyment rooted in Him.  

Danielle and I have had to become much more intentional in our stewardship and have learned to do with less since Nathaniel’s birth a year ago after going down to one income. Yet, we have seen the Lord’s provision and blessings throughout the year. Although our house is nothing fancy and the furniture is wearing/worn out, it has been such a joy and blessing to open our home to others (usually college students) for meals, game nights, or just to talk. This is what we want Nathaniel to experience regularly growing up. I found myself discouraged tonight thinking about recent car repair expenses and a newly identified repair need in the near future, yet I am thankful for Lord’s provisions in past repair needs and trust Him for future ones. How blessed we are to have two running vehicles when so many can barely keep one running. We are blessed to support different missionaries serving around the world. Our bills are paid each month. Finally, we are blessed that Danielle is able to stay home as a full time mom. We know that this is not possible for every mother, but we cannot comprehend how much we would have missed with Nathaniel changing daily if he had been in day care or with a sitter. No new furniture, fancy cars, or other gadgets can replace this. 

The Lord is so good and I am so thankful for His provisions, even though I can forget it at times.
Ever since last Sunday’s sermon on money and treasures, I have been thinking about Big Tent Revival’s song Two Sets of Jones’ (1995). While it is an old song, it has a powerful message.

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there you heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19-21)

May our hearts be fixed on our Lord Jesus Christ, the only source of satisfaction. May we trust our loving Heavenly Father to provide all of our needs in His time and not our own.

1 comment:

  1. Hey, Jeff, I just read this, and wanted to let you know that you really hit the nail on the head. BTW I love that old BTR song -- the 2 sets of Joneses has always challenged me to think about the values and treasures I want to pursue and have spent my life pursuing. There is soooo much in this world that is worthless and vain, and so much that is just a waste of our time and resources.
    I am so glad to be able to share this sojourn with you :)