“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 neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
On a scale of one to ten how content are you with the material items in your life? With your house, clothes, car, hobby gear, etc.? To be honest, this is a question that I struggle to answer as I feel like my response can change on a daily basis. While recently having a conversation about pencils of all things with my oldest son, the idea of contentment hit home with me.
A few weeks ago, my amazing 6 year-old son Dean asked me for what seemed to be the hundredth time if he could take a quarter from his piggy bank to buy a pencil from the pencil machine at school. Seeing this as a perfect teaching moment, I explained to him that he could not because on the few occasions I had let him, he was not happy with the pencil that the machine gave him. I tried my best to explain to him that the pencil machine was not a wise use of his money so I could not let him do that again.
While I prided myself on teaching Dean such a valuable lesson about money, tears began to well up in his beautiful blue eyes. His lip quivered as he explained that during choice time at school some of the kids would trade pencils but none of his were “cool enough” to trade. My heart melted into his puddle of tears on the floor. I wanted more than anything to help my sweet boy.
With possible options flashing through my mind I remembered that Dean had a pile of pencils in the office desk drawer. Elated, I told Dean to go down to the office, to the bottom desk drawer and pull out his bundle of pencils that were held together with a rubber hair band. Excitedly, he ran down the stairs as he had forgotten all about this apparent treasure.
With his hand full, he came racing back up the stairs, joyfully looking at each of the pencils, examining them for their potential trade value. I was relieved that we had solved his pencil problem so quickly and that he was happy with the solution. As we sat and looked through his amazing discovery, his smile could not have been bigger. Then, with pencils in hand he said, “Mom, I am so happy that we found these pencils, they are great! But, could I buy just one more?”
As I was about to beat my head against a wall, I couldn’t help but laugh as I realized how often I do the exact same thing. No, I may not care about having NFL pencils to trade my friends, but in how many areas of my life do I want just one more; or something just a little better, newer, or nicer?
When my husband and I relocated to Minnesota a few years ago from Virginia, we were blessed to buy a beautiful new home. Most days I am beyond thankful for our home and the incredible neighborhood that we live it. BUT, then there are those days when I go to someone else’s house, someone who has a main floor office, laundry, and half bath and suddenly my house seems totally inadequate. OR, I am perfectly content with my current wardrobe, but after seeing a friend with a cute new outfit, suddenly I realize that buying the majority of my clothes from stores where I also buy my groceries may not be as great as I had thought!
Maybe you’re completely satisfied with your house and clothes, but my guess is that all of us could name at least one area where we find it hard to be content with what we have. What is that area for you? What I have come to find is that my list of wants and would be nice-to-haves is virtually limitless. If I am not careful, I find myself wishing for more, for bigger, for better rather than being content with what God has blessed me with. In these times, I have to remind myself that contentment is a choice. It is a matter of the heart.
Matthew 6:21 says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Where is your heart today? If you’re unsure, ask God to reveal this to you. Psalm 139: 23 says, “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!” The next time you find yourself wanting more, or bigger, or better ask God to examine your heart. Ask Him to help you understand what is driving you and if getting it would be wise, or if you should be content with what you already have. Trust that God knows best and will not steer you wrong.
Personally, I have found many great rewards when I have chosen to be content. I have found freedom, joy, and peace when I can say to myself, “What I have is enough.” When I choose to be thankful for what God has already given me instead of wanting more. How about you?
So, here is our challenge; put down the latest t-shirt, shoes, golf club, or gadget and for the next 30 days let’s join together and purpose not to buy anything that we don’t need. Instead, let’s simply say, “What I have is enough,” and enjoy the rewards that contentment can bring. How might God bless and use you when you choose to be content?