Summary: In this message the apostle Paul sets before us six principles of financial contentment.
There is a story about a mother and son who lived in a forest. One day when they were out walking a tornado surprised them. The mother clung to a tree and tried to hold her son. But the swirling winds carried him into the sky. He was gone. The woman began to weep and pray: “Please, O Lord, bring back my boy! He’s all I have. I’d do anything not to lose him. If you’ll bring him back, I’ll serve you all my days.”
Suddenly the boy toppled from the sky, right at her feet—a bit ruffled up, but safe and sound. His mother joyfully brushed him off. Then she stopped for a moment, looked to the sky, and said, “Lord, he had a hat!”
This story is a good illustration of our attitude toward the money and possessions God has given us. Even when God blesses us greatly, we still want just a little more.
When it comes to finances, many of God’s people live in a constant state of dissatisfaction with what we have. The reason is that we are all sinners, and sinners are natural materialists.
We could define materialism as the “theory or doctrine that physical well-being and worldly possessions constitute the greatest good and highest value in life.” If you are a Christian, you would deny that you believe in materialism. But many Christians, who are not materialists in theory, are materialists in practice!
You know you are a practicing materialist if there is a certain amount of money you think you must accumulate, or something you believe you must buy, before you can be happy. What is it you are waiting to have before you will be satisfied? A minivan? A newer house? A house with one thousand more square feet and a third garage? New bedroom furniture? A new car? New clothes? A vacation to Disney World or a cruise to the Bahamas? A faster computer?
Financial discontent has ruined marriages, caused parents to neglect their children, robbed people of joy, and caused the work of God to go without adequate financial support around the world.
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.
14 Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. (Philippians 4:10-14)
Last week I began a new series of messages titled, “Taking the ‘Stew’ Out of Stewardship.” This is the second week of our Capital Stewardship Campaign, which we are calling Forward by Faith. The leadership of the Tampa Bay Presbyterian Church believes that God is calling our church family to move forward by faith to fulfill the mission that he has set before us.