“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as you have: for He has said, I will never leave you, nor for sake you.” -Hebrew 13:5-
Contentment, self-control and self-discipline seem to be lost virtues nowadays.
The days of Laura Ingalls-Wilder, when people made good use of things, valued their possessions, and were not wasteful, seem to be long gone. Though we don’t need to become pioneers again and live on a homestead to relearn these valuable skills and truths, there is certainly an appeal to that lifestyle. When I see children, even my own, not knowing the value of things, I become increasingly concerned with our society and what it has taught us, or rather, what it has neglected to teach us. It’s been happening for the last seventy years, in my opinion. A slow decline of our values and character. Although when put into perspective, seventy years is really quite fast. I think we’ve been like frogs 🐸 in a pot of water, not noticing the rising temperatures.
We are in a place now where the poverty-stricken are under the illusion that they’re entitled to the American dream; As if it were something they’re to be given, rather than something they have to work for. See, the American Dream was never to be a hand out for the slothful, but a result of hard work, sacrifice, dedication. We aren’t under the rule of communism, which wouldn’t allow individuals to prosper, but would instead spread each persons “wealth” around. No, we live in a free country. Free to earn a wage and reap the rewards. Free to work for the American Dream and free to enjoy it. Most of the time it is our own foolish decisions that prevent us from achieving it, or our discontentment that prevents us from realizing we already have it. Because what really defines it? It’s different for everyone. The standards that mark its achievement may be high or even realistically unattainable for some, but for another person, may be much simpler and well within reach. Even in our poorest conditions, I think many of us struggle with greed and materialism, to our own demise. Somehow we think that even though we can’t afford those fancy bath toys for our baby, we have to have them. Dollar Store cups or Tupperware or measuring cups that we already have at home, won’t do. (Even though we all know that babies prefer those ordinary things in the bath more than any fancy toys that will only get slimey and gross).
If I have clothes on my back and food in my cupboards, what more do I need? What will I take with me when I die? I came into this world with nothing, and I’ll leave it with nothing. Riches on earth are only riches on earth.
“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
I don’t pretend to be above this at all. I’m just sharing an observation. I struggle against the discontentment mentality all the time, but in my heart of hearts I know it’s wrong to be ungrateful and unsatisfied. My satisfaction, my contentment, my needs, are all fulfilled in Jesus Christ. That doesn’t mean my earthly coffers are full, but it means my trust is in Jesus and I believe His promise to provide all my needs.