Last week I wrote a post about living simply. I explained how the biggest lesson we learned from our recent move was the value of not being burdened with a bunch of stuff you don’t need. Here’s my attempt to give more of a theological rational for that thought.
The apostle Paul writes, “But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation.” (1 Timothy 6:6-9)
Here, Paul wants to change our thinking and help us see the value of true contentment. Paul wants us to see that when you have Christ in your life, you don’t need a whole lot of “stuff” to make you happy. In other words, Paul is warning us against having a “worldly” mindset. The world constantly tells us that we need to acquire more possessions. But if we have our basic needs met, Paul says we can be content. If you are you anything like me, you already have above and beyond your basic needs. Even if you don’t enjoy a comfortable lifestyle (by the world’s standards), you can still be content. If you are “in Christ” you have everything you could ever need and so much more!
Jesus said, “Do not lay not up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth up and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do break in and steal.” (Matthew 6:19-20) This complements what we already learned from Paul – we brought nothing into the world and we will take nothing out of the world. The application is as follows. Be content with what God has already given you. Set your mind on heaven and not on earth. To add to that, we must realize that in knowing Christ, we are infinitely blessed. By His grace and mercy, the God of the universe has revealed himself through Jesus Christ! In Christ we have been forgiven of our sin, reconciled to God, and are becoming more like Jesus day by day!
One more caution. Be very careful not to become a slave to what you possess. A friend of mine once told me that years ago, the Lord told him to get rid of his RV. When he would take his family to the lake over the weekend, he felt guilty for not being at church. When he was in church (and not at the lake) he felt guilty for not utilizing something he spent thousands of dollars on. His solution was to sell the camper. There are all kinds of variants to this story that are worked out in everyday life but I think you get the point. The more we possess, the more pressure we feel (at least most people) to use what we have. This in turn takes us away from doing Kingdom work and being used of the Lord. When we are busy taking care of all our toys, we tend to be “tied up” when God presents us with opportunities to serve. So be careful not to become a slave to what you posses.