The Abundant Life: Riches money can’t buy…
The abundant life has learned to be content regardless of circumstances. Contentment can make poor people rich while discontentment can make rich people poor.
The Apostle Paul told the Philippians, “I have learned in whatever state I am to be content.” The word “learned” in this passage indicates contentment did not come naturally. It was not some instant transformation, but rather it was something he learned through his relationship with God.
Did you know Paul wrote these words while in prison, being denied every comfort? The Philippian church had sent him a financial gift and he was truly thankful, especially for their heart-felt care and concern for him. However, Paul wanted the Philippians to know that true contentment looks beyond physical comforts to the peace that comes from knowing God. (Philippians 4:10-14) That’s why he could be content regardless of his circumstances.
True contentment is not dependent on outer circumstances. Paul had learned this. Whether he was exalted or abased, had eaten his fill or gone hungry, flourished or suffered—through it all he could be content and give thanks. (Philippians 4:11-13; Ephesians 4:20)
Contentment is not based on power, money, physical beauty, or material possessions. If it were, all successful, wealthy, gorgeous people who surround themselves with everything money can buy would be happy and content. We know that’s not the case. Actor Jim Carrey once said, “I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it’s not the answer.”
What is the answer? True contentment is an inner sense of peace that comes from knowing God. Additionally, contentment comes from focusing on what we have, not on what we don’t have.
In today’s world, we receive thousands of messages daily trying to persuade us to buy things we do not need with money we do not have. It’s tempting, even though God tells us that a man’s life does not consist of the abundance of things he might possess. (Luke 12:15)
Arsenius was a 4th Century Roman imperial tutor in Egypt who withdrew from Egyptian secular society to lead a prayer-oriented, austere lifestyle in the desert. He was considered one of the Desert Fathers, whose teachings greatly influenced the contemplative life. He was content to live with very little. Yet, when he visited the magnificent city of Alexandria, he wandered through its splendid bazaars. When asked why, he explained that his heart rejoiced at the sight of all the things he didn’t need.
Oh, that we could say the same thing after an afternoon at the mall!
“…I have come that they may have life and that they
may have it more abundantly.” ~John 10:10 (KJV)