Trust God by learning to be content
By Rick Warren
— August 5, 2010
"There is great gain in godliness combined with contentment; for we brought nothing into the world and we can take nothing out of it." 1 Timothy 6:6-7 (NRSV)
"So God chooses to use finances as the acid test of how much you trust Him. He wants us to come to him and ask when we have a need and learn to be content ..."
What is contentment? Contentment means my happiness is not dependent upon circumstances. Most people get caught in "when" thinking -- "When I get such and such, then I'll be happy." "When I get to a certain level economically... When I get a certain job ... When I can retire ... then I'll be happy. When I get the house paid off... When I get the bills paid off... then!"
God says "No, once you get there, you'll always want something else. You'll always want more." Somebody once asked the billionaire Howard Hughes, "How much does it take to make a man happy?" He said, "Just a little more."
God says, "I want you to learn contentment." It's not about not having goals. It's saying "My happiness is dependant upon the Lord not on my circumstances in life."
Paul learned contentment. He says in Philippians 4:12, "I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I've learned the secret of contentment in every situation." (LB) Contentment is something you have to learn. It's not something that comes naturally. I, by my nature, am naturally discontent. And so are you.
How do you learn to be content? Stop comparing. God says it's stupid to compare yourself to others. You compare houses, clothes, cars. I bought a computer a couple of weeks ago and I was so excited about it. Then I opened a magazine and there's a newer model!
We're constantly comparing -- and comparing causes discontent. And because of discontent God says, "You can't handle what I want to give you because you're putting too much priority on things in your life." Can God trust you with wealth? Have you learned to be content?
I don't know why but God has chosen money to be the acid test of our faith. We spend our entire lives trying to make it, earn it, save it, spend it, and use it. So God chooses to use finances as the acid test of how much you trust Him. He wants us to come to him and ask when we have a need and learn to be content, that our happiness isn't dependent on how much or how little we've got. If you don't learn contentment, you'll never be happy. You'll always want more.