“But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content” (1 Timothy 6:6-8, ESV).
One of the spiritual disciplines in Remove the High Places is abstaining from any unnecessary purchases. I was reminded this week of how much I like stuff, and how sometimes loving stuff can get in the way of contentment. Reflecting on my attachment to things, God brought to memory an experience I had a few years ago.
We were visiting an old friend. His house was gorgeous… and huge! He told me all about how he’d just finished his advanced degree and landed his dream job. His beautiful kids were running and playing through the immense playroom in his basement that by itself has as much finished square footage as my entire house. In his driveway sat a shiny full-size SUV in an off-road trim and hog tires, dripping with machismo (even though he’s never driven off the pavement a day in his life).
As we loaded our over-stimulated-yet-exhausted young children into our tired old minivan for the long drive home, I confess that my attitude wasn’t exactly a model of godly contentment. I was running through the list of all the things my friend had that I’d always wanted, and grousing in my heart, when the Lord interrupted my thoughts as plainly as if he had spoken audibly (I’ve asked Corinne if she heard a voice, but she didn’t—so I know it wasn’t out loud).
Have I not taken care of you?
Instantly, I felt about three inches tall. Yes, Lord, you have taken care of me. I have an incredible family, far beyond what I would’ve asked or imagined. I have a job I love. God has provided for us generously. We have a comfortable home, two working vehicles, and plenty of food. While I occasionally drive a dirt path to reach a fishing hole, the stock all-wheel-drive system on my Honda handles it just fine—I don’t need a Jeep Gladiator Rubicon (I probably wouldn’t even know what to do with one if I had it).
Most importantly, my family loves Jesus and is connected to others who love Jesus in his church. We have the Holy Spirit living in us. And, we have an eternal inheritance being kept in heaven for us, ready to be revealed when Christ returns.
God loves us. That pretty much sums it up! Sometimes getting overly attached to things distracts us from being content with being loved by God. So, I’m thankful for the reminder, even if it comes through a season of disciplines.