Finances and Contentment
I have always considered myself a relatively content person…until it came to finances.
My dad is a pharmacist, which means after he got his doctorate we were financially secure. My parents were very “Larry Burkett” with their money, so it’s not like we grew up lavishly surrounded with every material possession we desired, but money wasn’t something I had to think about.
That changed when I married my beloved fuzzy mountain man. He runs his small family flooring business, and as all contractors know in summer we “feast” and in winter we “famine”.
To be honest, that has been pretty difficult for me to get used to. The first winter of our marriage it was just my husband and I, starving was no problem (not literally starving, just tightening the belts a bit). But our second year, I had a newborn to think about and all my mothering protective instincts were out in full force. God had to show me in miraculous ways (if you’ve read the second issue of 2018’s Strength and Song magazine you will remember the article I wrote about that) that He is my provider, and my security needs to lie in Him, not my material wealth.
This lesson has been hard to accept, especially when others around me seem to be flowing with financial stability and everything their heart’s desire. Being “poor” isn’t something you can openly talk about in our culture – for some reason, it has a shameful stigma that just shows how deeply Americans place value and self-worth in money and financial prosperity. For my husband and I, we are called to a path in life that will NEVER reap wealth that can be measured with a dollar sign. We see others around us invest in the perfect house, the perfect car, the perfect hair and clothes, and we know that will NEVER be us. Not because any of that is evil (it isn’t), but because God has made it clear in the greater plan He has for our life that we can’t put down roots right now.
My mom and I recently went through some Bible verses that helped to open my perspective to a biblical view of finances, and I want to share them with you.
Contentment and Material Wealth
For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. 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. 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 Timothy 6:7-10
What a convicting passage! How can I hold on to discontent after reading that?
Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
We say the phrase “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” all the time, in every context. But did you realize it was written specifically in context of contentment despite your material circumstances? It carries a whole new meaning in that light.
Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Is that promise from Jesus enough? Is the knowledge that He will never leave or forsake you enough for you, friend? It should be! What is in the way of you believing that to be true?
Okay, so if not monetarily, how should we determine value? What is wealth according to God’s standards?
Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?
Receive my instruction, and not silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold; For wisdom is better than rubies, and all the things one may desire cannot be compared with her.
By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches and honor and life.
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 moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.
I could share more, but I hope you get the point. True wealth is fearing God and placing your faith in Him. Why do we strive for all the things here on earth to the neglect of storing up treasures in heaven? May God open our eyes to an eternal perspective when it comes to our finances. May we place our budgets and paychecks before Him and seek His will on any changes that need to be made. May we rejoice in His provision, no matter the figures we make.
Originally written by Natalya Brown for Ordinary Life - in His Timing. Used with permission.