How does the phrase “be satisfied with what you have” strike you? I confess that it bothers me. I might be a pretty content guy, but the idea of being satisfied with what I have implies that I shouldn’t be hoping for more . . . a nicer house or a more dependable car or even a fancier cell phone. Could this satisfaction be an indictment against ambition or a mandate for lethargy? I wonder.
Yet scripture speaks clearly:
Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. – Hebrews 13:5 NLT
Because I believe that God’s word is always true whether I like it or not, I have been digging to better understand the “whys” and “hows” of this command. Follow along for what I have been learning:
Why We Should Be Satisfied
1. It’s an antidote to loving money.
If you are struggling with this concept, let me ask you another question: “Do you think it is okay to love money?” I am guessing most of you are saying, “Of course not! We should love God and each other . . . not money!”
Read Hebrews 13:5 (NLT) again: “Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have.”
The problem is this: being content with our current circumstances is directly linked to not loving money. Stated differently, if we are not satisfied with what we have, we evidently have a love for money. But, the good news is this: When we develop a satisfied mindset, we are liberated from loving money. It is the antidote.
2. We will learn to trust God.
The full verse reads, “Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, ‘I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.’” – Hebrews 13:5 NLT
What a promise! But do we believe it? Do I believe it? Am I willing to transfer my love of money to a trust in God? Great question, and here we are getting to the crux of the issue: being satisfied with what we have requires a deep trust in God. That is a good thing.
3. We will live without fear.
The very next verse in this passage reads, “So we can say with confidence, ‘The LORD is my helper, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?’”
What do we fear? Losing our jobs? Not getting that next promotion? As long we trust in ourselves or in other people, we are perpetually living on the verge of failure and disappointment. However, if we can learn to trust God, who promises to never fail us or leave us, we have absolutely nothing to fear.
How to Be Satisfied
Remembering that I am writing this to myself as well as to you, here are some bullet point thoughts:
- Be intentional about living with less instead of wanting more.
- When you accumulate more, give more.
- Be thankful for what you already have instead of resenting what you don’t have.
- Know the difference between needs and wants.
- Be satisfied with God’s sufficiency for your needs.
- Distinguish between temporal and eternal. All of our money and possession in this life will pass away. God’s provisions last forever.
You know . . . this idea of being satisfied with what we have is sounding pretty good to me. Doing so will break me free from a love of money, help me develop a deeper trust in God and purge fear from my life.
I am going to go for it. How about you? Leave a comment!
This article was originally published on Personal Finance by the Book on January 6th, 2012.