My grandfather, Charles S. Good, was a pastor for many years. He was a wonderful, wise man who loved God. He died some years back but before he died, he wrote a series of meditations and thoughts. I would like to share one of them with you this morning.
Hebrews 13:5 “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.'”.
It would seem following this scriptural directive has never been easy. Certainly at this time in America it appears to be very difficult. I need to confess that, with my failing health, it has become increasingly difficult to be content with what I am able to do, as well as with what I have. However, I am finding God’s grace is sufficient.
If we study carefully the biblical context of contentment, we see a very interesting challenge develop. On the one hand, we are to be content with that which relates to the material and the physical. On the other hand, we are to strive for that which relates to the spiritual.
In regards to the physical we need to hear Paul in Philippians 4:11. “…I have learned in whatsoever state I am therewith to be content.” I Timothy 6:6-8 “…having food and raiment let us therewith be content.” There are many other verses which speak to the matter of being content with our material and physical condition.
In regards to the spiritual, we need to note verses as in Hebrews 12:1 “…let us run with patience the race that is set before us.” and Philippians 3:14, “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” There are other biblical references which use such words as strive, covet earnestly, etc. that depict what our attitude should be toward our spiritual life.
In looking carefully at our text in Hebrews, it seems to me our trust in God can be measured by the degree of contentment we have towards material things. I am not suggesting it is okay to be lazy in regards to physical labor but to be careful in setting priorities in life. If in our lifetime we had kept a record of time and energy spent to minister to our physical desires, and had done the same in regards to our spiritual life, would we be pleased with what we find?
We need to be well aware of the fact that in our day the presence of peer pressure, media advertising, and easy credit make it very difficult to be contented. In fact, because these things appeal to the flesh, we are very prone to be discontented. In order to conquer this tendency we need to put forth special effort in our relationship with Jesus Christ.
Brothers and sisters, if we would gain the victory in this regards, let’s keep in perspective James 4:14, “…life is but like a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.”
As Christians may we strive for spiritual health and not for material wealth!
—Charles S. Good (July 1994)