Thrifty Times

Promoting thrift for our times

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Mark Strohm has served a Christian School principal, Children's pastor, seminar speaker and adjunct professor.Read more >>
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Contentment versus Discontentment PDF Print E-mail

Thrifty Times endeavors to save you money so that you will be free from debt and worry and so you will be able to give generously to those in need.  If that gives you the impression that "you can have it all" for less, I'd like to set the record straight.  The fact  of the matter is, you can't have it all.  Even if you could, it wouldn't be enough.  You would still not be content.

I Timothy 6: 6-10 says, "But godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into the world and we can take nothing out of it.  But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.  People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction.  For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.  Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs."

"Harmful desires", "ruin", "destruction", "all kinds of evil", and "many griefs" are not my idea of contentment!  So we're not happy when we don't have things and we're not happy when we get what we want.  What are the keys to contentment?  Some answers follow.

1)  Problem (Discontentment):  Loss of job, retirement, single parenthood or other situations with a loss of income.

Solution (Contentment):  I Timothy 6:17b - "nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides everything for your enjoyment."  When your trust is in God, everything  is available for your enjoyment.  Things you wouldn't ordinarily think of giving amusement, will provide joy.  When my husband was in the hospital my kids entertained themselves with investigative trips all around the hospital - the gift shop, cafeteria, and even the chapel.  They explored every nook and cranny of that building and turned a difficult time into an adventure - they were content despite the stress.  People are a wonderful enjoyment.  Spend time with loved ones and friends.  Take a page from toddlers and small children who delight in boxes, pots and pans and everyday items that we ignore.  Think outside the box for your contentment!

2)  Problem (Discontentment):  Desire for things you can't afford (a new home, car, clothes, electronics, gadgets, etc.).

Solution (Contentment):  Philippians 2:3 - "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves."  This includes selfish shopping.  Be happy for those who can afford what you wish you could have instead of pouting and complaining like a spoiled two-year old!    Remember to "Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart."  Psalm 37:4.  Also, "How much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him."  Matthew 7:11  Trust God to bless you with good gifts instead of buying what you shouldn't.

3)  Problem (Discontentment):  Hard decisions and tough choices which are proving difficult (stay-at-home moms, caregivers for elderly parents, adult children moving back home, etc.)

Solution (Contentment):  I Timothy 6:18, 19 -  "Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.  In this way they will lay up treasures for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life."  Sometimes when we feel God asking us to make a sacrificial life decision we expect Him to make the road easy.  That is usually not the case - it will be a sacrifice.  Although we are not amassing material blessings, we are laying up treasures in heaven.  And "where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."  Matthew 6:21.  Invest your treasure in others and your heart will follow, giving joy.

Contentment is taking our eyes off the temporary pleasures of this life and seeking an eternal perspective - taking "hold of the life that is truly life".  You can't take it (riches) with you, but you can send it on ahead!

Cathy Riccio -

Learning to be content where life and God have placed her Cathy has learned to be thrifty and enjoy life as well.


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