Random Lent Thought for Tuesday March 21st: Contentment

‘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”‘ (Hebrews 13:5).

in the Letter to the Hebrews, the section immediately before this one is about sexual immorality, which gets a lot of attention in the church and in the world (the media celebrates it, the church obsesses about it). It’s an important subject and I make no apology for giving attention to it from time to time, but it’s good to remember that the author to the Hebrews gives just as much attention to the danger of the love of money. I live in a covetous and greedy culture, with a powerful advertising industry dedicated to growing a spirit of discontentment in me. And whenever I give in to it, people cheer me and say, ‘Good for you! You deserve it!’

The author of Hebrews gives two remedies: contentment, and trust in God. As Sheryl Crow would say, ‘It’s not having what you want, it’s wanting what you’ve got!’ To be happy with what I have and not to be always wanting more – what Paul calls in 1 Timothy ‘godliness with contentment’ – is a great spiritual secret which I have not yet fully learned.

The second thing is trust in God: ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you’. God has promised to provide for our needs (not our wants – a category which includes most of what I worry about!). So growing closer to God and learning to lean on him is what it’s all about.

I’d add a third strategy for dealing with the love of money: generosity. If the false god of wealth is wrapping his chains around my heart, cheerful giving is always a good strategy for defeating him!

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Tim Chesterton

Family man; pastor of St. Margaret's Anglican Church on Ellerslie Road, Edmonton; storyteller; traditional folk musician and occasional songwriter. Email me at timchesterton at outlook dot com.

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