Contentment – How do I live in a material world?

Bang!  The window shattered.  My wife was driving our minivan when, for no apparent reason, a back window exploded.  It had no visible flaws, but the harsh desert sun had obviously taken its toll and fatigued the glass.  In an instant, the window, which had seemed to be durable and lasting, revealed its true state – its perishing nature.

This window is typical of the material things in this world.  Everything this world “owns” is temporary.  Even when we don’t realize it, our possessions are growing old and wearing out (like my van’s window).  When we understand the true nature of our earthly goods we look at them in a different way.  Jesus once said, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).  Your car, your house, your body, and everything else will age and fall apart.  Treasure in heaven is treasure that lasts forever.  That is what we really should be concerned about.

Owning the biggest house or the fastest boat won’t get you into heaven.  That’s because heaven is not about material wealth.  It’s about goodness.  Jesus once asked, “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?”  (Mark 8:36-37)  Our soul is our most important possession.  Because of our sins of greed, envy and theft, we are not worthy to experience the blessings of heaven.  And no matter how hard we work to try to earn heaven, God says that we fall short.  By our own efforts, we can never be good enough to get into heaven.  But Jesus is!

The Apostle Paul wrote, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9).  Jesus wants you to be rich in heaven.  He came down to earth so that we could live with him forever.  He lived and died for you to make you righteous in God’s eyes.  Jesus has credited his perfection to your account.  Because of Jesus, God loves you and takes care of all of your needs.

How do we in live with contentment in a material world?  First, we understand the true value of our earthly possessions: they do not last and they cannot buy us heaven.  Second, we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and the home that he has prepared for us in heaven.  Then we will live every day assured of God’s love and caring.  That is true contentment.  Paul confirms this when he says, “Godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Timothy 6:6).

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