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The Secret of Contentment (FOUNDATION #13)

MoneyWise | Nov 14, 2022

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Show Notes

Do you want to know a secret? Well, we have one for you — a secret that’ll change your life. We’ll clue you in just ahead on MoneyWise.

  • Every so often on our Monday programs, we circle back to “first principles,” to the foundational teachings of Christian stewardship that should guide our everyday lives.
  • Usually, we focus on one of the five things you can do with money. You can earn it, live on it, give it away, owe it to someone, and finally, you can grow it by saving or investing.
  • So that’s: earn, live, give, owe, and grow.
  • As Christians, we are called to be disciples. That’s just another word for learners. Our task as disciples is to learn about God and about how to honor him through the way we live.
  • Now, of course, a big part of that is learning to manage the resources he entrusts to us, including money.
  • We can learn many practical things about managing money — such as budgeting and saving and investing. But we also need to “learn” to have a proper attitude toward money and material things.
  • THE SECRET
  • And this is where the big secret comes in. The Apostle Paul tells us about it in Philippians chapter 4. He writes this:
  • I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with plenty or little. For I can do everything through the One who gives me strength.
  • Did you catch that? The secret he has learned is the secret of living in every situation, even when he doesn’t have everything he might want to have. He has learned the secret of being content.
  • Now, the reason this is a “secret” is not that anyone is trying to hide it. It’s simply that relatively few people have applied this to their lives. We live in a discontented world in which many people never seem satisfied with what they have.
  • That’s our fallen nature, I suppose. And advertisers appeal to that nature by getting us to want more. For example, when a new model phone comes out, we’re encouraged to get rid of our “old” phones — which probably aren’t that old — and get the latest and greatest.
  • I’m not saying new things are bad, but I am suggesting that those of us seeking to be faithful stewards should take a step back and wrestle with this question of contentment.
  • Note that Paul said he had “learned how to be content.” Contentment doesn’t come naturally. It’s something we must seek from the Lord, but I also think we need to start saying “no” to the culture’s continual push that tries to amplify discontent.
  • Now, don’t misunderstand. I’m not saying you should never buy anything or that you can’t spend money on a new gadget or a pleasurable vacation. What I am saying is that we need to examine our motives. Does discontentment drive our purchasing decisions?
  • Are we envious of others because they may have more than we do? Do we think, “I would be content if only I had this or that?”
  • GIVING THANKS
  • we’re going to be celebrating Thanksgiving soon, so there’s probably no better time to be talking about this issue of contentment. Giving thanks is one of the ways we can practice contentment. When we say, “Thank you Lord for providing for my family and me, thank you for giving me a job, thank you that we have a roof over our heads and food on our table,” we begin to realize how blessed we are.
  • And I think that’ll go a long way to helping us learn — as the Apostle Paul learned — to be content with whatever he had.
  • As I said, becoming a good steward involves learning many practical things about effective money management. But don’t neglect the attitudinal thing: learning to be content. It really is a secret that’ll change your life.

On this program, Rob also answers listener questions:

  • Are online banks as stable and safe as brick-and-mortar?
  • If you have money in an annuity, why might it decline in value?
  • Should you forego funding a Roth Ira to do Roth conversions?

RESOURCES MENTIONED:

Remember, you can call in to ask your questions most days at (800) 525-7000 or email them to Questions@MoneyWise.org. Also, visit our website at MoneyWise.org where you can connect with a MoneyWise Coach, join the MoneyWise Community, and even download the free MoneyWise app.

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