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.”
I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies, as much as in all riches.This chapter is called "Never Enough," but if following the theme of earlier chapters ("Content with Circumstances," "Content to be Me," etc), I would call it "Content with Stuff." Linda Dillow addresses three barriers to being content with what we have: greed, lack of purpose, and anxiety. This chapter is about the first of those three.
She gives us these Biblical principles about material possessions:
1. Everything belongs to God....
2. Heart attitude is the issue.... You can quickly identify where your heart is if you will survey the things you own and then answer this question: Suppose this treasure were lost, destroyed, or stolen tomorrow. Would I miss it to the point that it would harm my trust in God, my contentment, or my relationships? If the answer is yes, then your treasure is on earth.
3. God comes first and possessions come second....
4. Possessions are to be used, not loved... (pages 87-89).
I find the timing of this chapter to be very interesting in my own life, but I don't think I can share about that right now. So, instead I will go back a little. Apartment living used to be a huge struggle for me! I used to dread visiting friends who had houses, because I knew I would be jealous. I would cry about it often and beg God for a house... or contentment. This sounds simple and trite, looking back and skipping over so much, but He did eventually give me that contentment. Now I usually love living in an apartment. And now, after many years in cramped, cluttered apartments (not our clutter), we have really been enjoying a bigger, empty one, with wide open spaces. But we're coming to the end of our time here, and I've really been struggling. It's not likely that we'll find another place like this. (Although, God could surprise us; He's good at that!) My goal is to look around at this lovely home every day and relish it, without a twinge of "I'll be so sad to leave." That would poison the time that I do have here. This quote was really inspirational to me today:
God has recently give Jody and me a wonderful gift of a house in the beautiful Colorado mountains. After eighteen years of living overseas in rented houses and apartments, I am very grateful for this gift, yet I am also afraid. It would be so easy to let the leech [greed] get a hold of me. Once something becomes mine, my human tendency is to grasp it tightly. God wants me daily to hold out my house to Him with open hands and say, "It is Yours, Lord" (page 89).
I'm also challenged to take another step. Looking at the two Bible verses I quoted above, being content and not coveting aren't so hard right now. But am I really rejoicing that much in the Lord? Daily? Oh, how I want to!
What advice do you have for someone struggling to be content with what they have? What lessons have you learned yourself in this area?