I don't know what the weekend service at your church was about, but ours was "It's Never Enough" from the Series titled, "The Elephant in the Room: Getting Past Your Fears of Generosity." Josh King, our church's Director of Discipleship led it and did a great job. He said "The elephant in the room isn't money but our fears about money," and fear brings "cowardly paralysis or courageous pursuit" - one of the two. He taught about money in a way that I love to talk about "healthy", breaking down the world's perspective vs. God's perspective. One of the points he made was with the world your gain is material wealth and with God your gain is contentment.
Now, let me give you perspective on where I'm going with this, based on some of the experiences I had leading up to that service last week and weekend...
Right now, I'm listening to a podcast series called "Financial Fitness" with Rick Warren. This week while I was working out I listened to this Law of Contentment. Pastor Rick speaks of four keys to this law. 1) Stop comparing yourself to others, 2) Enjoy what you have, 3) Life is not about things, 4) Focus on what will last forever.
Stop Comparing yourself. All you have to do with this one is go to Facebook and look at who has got more of what you want. My friend Margaret and I were talking about this Friday, the different people we've had to drop on Facebook because of how triggering it is with all the places they are going and everything they have. Then I told her, I think we need to change our perspective on this. These people may have a lot but I was listening to a podcast this week that made me realize how much we need to realize the abundance of what we have. I asked her, "Are you content?" "Yes," she said. Of course we want more. But that's just human. The question is are you going to say, "I want what they have?" or realize, "I've got everything I need that God has given me." Are you so busy comparing your life and everything you have or don't have to others on Facebook that you can't see what you do have? SO many things.
Enjoy what you have. The other week my husband and I went to pick up a bookshelf at a friend's house who was moving away. Now this house was absolutely beautiful - unique in so many ways and well loved. It wasn't just a structure. You couldn't see how special it was from the outside. But one you got inside, you were blown away. I left that place and I wanted it that minute. I wanted to move there yesterday. I remarked how a few years ago I would have almost expected it and had a temper tantrum if I didn't get it. But the reality, was that at this moment it's not a reality for us financially. I stared at the pics for a while imagining how I could make it ours. But you know what came to me the most? God will provide. He always provides. He's got something planned that fits us and that just might be staying put, and I'm okay with that. What a perspective.
Life is not about things. Amen to that. The other night my husband and stepdaughter were having a talk about money (theme again!). Both of them are very present to the face that life is about relationships and experiences more than things. My stepdaughter said, "I'd so much rather buy a cup of coffee with a friend and have an experience than go to the mall and buy a piece of clothing." (So proud!) Does that mean she doesn't want things? No. We were watching Kardashians last night and she told me the one daughter is wearing bracelets that are $6,000 a piece! I mean who wouldn't love to carry those Cartier masterpieces on your arm? (Even though someone could chop it off and buy a car for that much!) They are very nice but our goal as individuals isn't to make enough money so we can get those bracelets. Our goal is to be happy and I think we both know, as well as my husband that when it comes down to it - those "things" we want, we want, but we don't NEED. Our happiness comes from something greater.
Focus on what will last forever. I have had the chance to have a lot of things in my life. I enjoyed being able to do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. But today, that's not something I can do, and I am truly okay with that. I'm only okay with that because it's not the world's "gain of material wealth" that I'm focused on, but a "gain of contentment" in my relationship with God. Why? Because I know there isn't one thing out there, or amount of money that could fill the hole that only God can fill in relationship. That gives me peace. That makes me know that when I have nothing, I have everything. It makes me know that when I'm working towards something, that God WILL provide in His time.
I am grateful to know where true abundance, peace and contentment lies. I don't just know it in my head. I know it in my heart. So if I'm stuck resenting someone whose got more than me I just remind myself how much God has given me and continues to give me everyday. Does it mean it never happens? No. But -- I've got the antidote, and it's a lot more than things...
In the service yesterday, Josh posted a C.S. Lewis quote: "The more we let God take us over, the more truly ourselves we become." This morning my stepdaughter had one posted on Instagram also by C.S. Lewis, "If we find ourselves with a desire nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world." (One called eternity. The things of this world are not our ultimate joy!)
On the way to the service yesterday, it's funny - because Mike and I were talking about that wanting more concept. In the program we call it "the disease of more." I believe we ALL have that. As humans we always want more, especially in a world that's constantly tempting us with it. Addicts just take it to a little bit more of an extreme I guess.
Anyway as we're driving, having this conversation and in the background is playing the song, "What We Ain't Got" by Jake Owen. The sadness of this song (and the video) points boldly to this human condition of wanting what we don't have.
Here's the funny part, we're driving home from church and I hear this lyric: "I got everything I need nothing that I don't, everything I need, nothing that I don't." I know it's Zac Brown Band and I run inside to see the name of the song. "Homegrown." Hearing it wrapped up the whole message I was hearing from last week up until the service on Sunday.
It's ALL About Contentment and realizing we've got everything we need. Yes, we're going to want what we don't have. We're human. It's just a matter of deciding to fear that we don't have enough or fear and trust that God's got a plan, cause we've GOT everything we need.
In fact, if we know God, we've got more than we can ever imagine.
(Both videos are below. If you are curious there is also an awesome version of Homegrown from SNL but posting this one for you to see lyrics.)
Also, here is 1 Timothy 6: 6-12, ESV that you can reflect on this week. The "love of money" is a whole other issue but just remember it's not money itself but the love of it.
But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into this world, and we cannot take anything out of this world. But if we have food and clothing with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into the root of destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving, that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. But as for you, oh man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called...