Summary: Part three of this stewardship series, this one focusing on being content with what God has given us.
Following Jesus with Your Finances
Part 3 – The Value of Contentment
March 20, 2011
Me: One of the issues that pastors face when talking about money is many of us are afraid that that no matter what we say, it will be taken as just another way of trying to get into your wallets and checkbooks.
And your board members will tell you that this is what I struggle with.
So as I was praying about this message, I kept asking God what I could address so that we can get the message of good stewardship across and yet not get bogged down into a tug-of-war on our bank accounts.
And I felt God saying, “Brian, talk to them about being content. That the obsession with gaining more for the sake of having more is not good, and it doesn’t reflect the peace I want them so desperately to have.
“Don’t talk about giving, don’t talk about tithing, don’t talk about their treasure being where their heart is, or any of that stuff.
Talk to them about the idea that I’ve got their back, and they can be content with what I’ve supplied for them and will continue to supply.
So I’m like, “Cool!”
And one of the reasons it was cool was because it’s one of the lessons God has taught me a lot over the past few years.
I’m like everyone else – I could stand a little more money, a little less stress financially.
But God has shown me that I can count on Him – in every circumstance. And I’ve had a few, believe me!
We: We are told by society and even by some preachers that we should never be content, and that if we’re not always chasing a buck, then something must be wrong with us.
And while we should do all we can to provide for our families and such, we need to be careful that that doesn’t turn into an obsession.
The fact is that as we allow God to have full reign in our lives, God meets our needs and allows us to experience something that few people in our world – and our society – can experience, and that is contentment.
I don’t know about you, but the idea that I don’t have to live under the same stresses that most folks have to live under regarding money is a very good thing.
So let’s look at how that can happen, okay?
God: Philippians 4:10-14 (p. 832) –
10 I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you have been concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
Paul was under house arrest in Rome, the imprisonment mentioned at the end of the book of Acts.
By this time, Paul had gone from being a rising star among the religious leaders and a leading persecutor of the church of Jesus, to the leading church planter of the early church, and the recipient of the same persecution he had been dishing out all those years ago.
And as this passage has pointed out, he had seen the good and the bad of life, and in particular, had known what it had been like to have enough to meet his needs, and not having enough.
Paul says that he knows what it’s like to have enough and not have enough.
He says in verse 12 –
I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
Now if a guy who can’t leave his home without an armed guard can be content in every situation, then why can’t 21st Century Christians, especially here in the most prosperous country in the entire world?
Well, the good news is that we can. And Paul gives us some clues on how that can happen for us.
Three lessons we can learn about contentment.
1. Contentment starts with gratitude.
Verse 10 –
I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me.
Paul starts by stating how grateful he is that the Philippians had had the opportunity to help Paul in the situation he was in.
Being a prisoner in Rome, Paul actually had to pay the rent for the home he “lived” in, as well as paying for the guards that he was required to have.