Sunday, November 16, 2014

November 13 – Being content, not passive

Your conduct must be free from the love of money and you must be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you and I will never abandon you.”  So we can say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper, and I will not be afraid. What can people do to me?”  (Hebrews 13:5-6 NET)

Anyone familiar with the teachings of the Bible know that the love of money is an evil thing.  1 Timothy 6 says that money is the root of all kinds of evil, and Jesus said in both Matthew and Luke, that we cannot serve both God and money, because we will love one and hate the other.  Personal possessions and the security and prestige of wealth hold a great deal of power, and only godly people have the ability to deal with them all wisely without jeopardizing their relationship with God.

One myth that many Christians preach and practice, is that since Paul tells the church to “be content with what you have,” that it’s a sin to strive to prosper in your business or job.  But that is not what he’s saying.  The Holy Spirit, who inspired Paul to write this, is talking here about the state of our hearts and where our trust lies.  A person can be poor and on welfare, and yet desire money to such a degree that he becomes greedy and hardened towards God.  His absence of money doesn’t make him more spiritual.  Another person can be working hard to grow his company, staying up late and sacrificing free time to see his dream of a bigger business become a reality, yet all the while have his heart firmly set on God.  He’s not anxious or greedy, and is truly content with the knowledge that with God as his Lord and provider, all will work together for his good because God is first in all his plans. 

Don’t confuse contentment with passivity.  God’s people have always been great examples to the world when they were bold and courageous, to fight wars as in David’s time, or to face down violent kings as in Esther’s day, or to preach the gospel in a hostile empire, as the disciples of the Early Church did so fervently.  Complacency and laziness aren’t listed among the fruit of the Spirit.  Contentment is about active determination and confidence, and a refusal to be afraid.  Fears may try to creep in, but faith commands those fears to leave because God has promised that He is our helper. 

If being content were a passive thing, then God wouldn’t tell us to say confidently, “What can people do to me?”  When you give tithes, offerings and sacrifices to God, use that opportunity to learn this beautiful character quality of being content.  Defy the spirit of fear and prove your trust in God.  Walk away from the altar with contentment and peace, knowing that as your helper, He will provide abundantly more than what you ask or think. 

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