When I think of the word “contentment,” I picture my grandparents in their mint green kitchen. They are sitting at the kitchen table together – my grandpa in his everyday uniform of a plaid shirt and striped overalls, my grandma in her wheelchair wearing a floral top and polyester pants. The kitchen floor is a worn gold and white flecked vinyl; the honey blonde kitchen cupboards are scarred from years of a wheelchair rubbing up against them. Everything about the picture is worn and had been out of style for a good twenty years. And yet, if you would mention replacing something to my grandpa, he would just shrug his shoulders, crinkle his forehead and say, “Why? It works just fine!” They lived by the simple concepts of using things until they wore out, and making do or doing without. They knew contentment.
(My grandpa’s well-worn boots)
I wish I could say that I’ve mastered contentment, but that is far from the truth. I have spent much of my adult life seeking and striving for the next thing – whether it be a promotion, a newer vehicle or a nicer house. God has gently grown me over the years by continually placing me in humbling circumstances that are quite the opposite of what I had been seeking. Rather than a promotion, I was let go. Rather than a nicer house, we moved to a fixer upper. Rather than a newer vehicle, He provided an older, more reliable one. The list goes on and on.
Through His refining, my desires are changing. Sure, new and pretty things would be nice, but I’m learning to be content in His wise and timely provisions.
The philosopher Epicurus said, “The secret of contentment is not to add to a man’s possessions but to take away from his desires.” In other words, true contentment comes not from having more, but from wanting less. When our wants are fewer, that will have a direct impact not only on our bank accounts, but on our entire outlook on life. Contentment brings about appreciation for what we have, thankfulness for all that God provides, and peace in the knowledge that He will continue to provide for all our needs.
As we finish up this segment on freedom from money, more than anything, I hope that you find contentment in God and His provisions, for then you shall be truly free!