Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Gain More With Less

I Timothy 6:6
Of course there is great gain in godliness combined with contentment…but if we have food and clothing we will be content with these.

When is enough ever enough? In our consumer culture there are more and more offerings to peek our cravings for the next thing we didn’t know we needed. It’s humorous to listen to my children say, “Daddy I need this new thing.” I have to remind them there is a difference between want and need. Need is something you can’t do without for survival, “want” is a creature comfort that is pleasurable but not necessary for my survival.

Some of us treat God like a divine parent and we think that because we are good or “godly’ that we should gain more, that we should be profitable, rich. That thought is partially correct. There is a gain in godliness. David said in Psalm 37:4
delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. But that gain only holds when it is coupled with contentment... God has never liked greed. When he gave Adam and Eve everything they needed in Eden, they still lusted for the one thing they couldn’t have but wanted. They didn’t need it but Satan produced a false want, they wanted to be like God to know the difference between Good and Evil. They were in Paradise but were not content. Godliness + Contentment= Great Gain. In other words, I get more by being content with less.

Paul talks about contentment in Philippians 4:11-13 (New International Version)
11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

Rick Warren in his “Purpose of Christmas” says we live on three levels:

1. Survival level. Is where everyday people are struggling to get their basic needs met, food, water, clothing. At least 80% of humanity lives on less than $10 a day. According to UNICEF, 25,000 children die each day due to poverty. And they “die quietly in some of the poorest villages on earth, far removed from the scrutiny and the conscience of the world. Being meek and weak in life makes these dying multitudes even more invisible in death.”Source 4

2. Success Level is where we have attained our basic needs plus some creature comforts. When you are struggling financially in the United States or even poor you are doing better than the majority of impoverished people in third world countries. If you didn’t sleep on mud floors last night or send your children digging through the trash for food then you are probably at the success level.

3. Significance Level is where we take our success and bless others. The more you gain the more you must learn contentment. In order to reach significance you must live out your God-given purpose and continue to give back and not worship your gain (riches)

1 Timothy 6:17-19 (New International Version)
17Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.

Dear God, thank you for good and clothing, for a roof over my head, and clothes on my body. You’ve been embarrassingly good to me and my family. This season help me to give back a portion of all that you’ve given me so someone else can make it out of survival mode to success to significance.

In Jesus Name,
Amen.

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