Summary: Learn to be content and you will always have all you need. You also learn what true giving means.
Hebrews13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
1 Timothy 6:8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
Coming home from Fort Worth the other day I noticed the vast number of self-storage units and I thought of these two verses. At some point, the rent for the storage unit will remove the value of the stuff inside it. Some of the stuff will deteriorate on its own. It will become outdated, but not enough to be valuable vintage or antique. It just becomes junk that we cling to and in the end overpay for it.
We just had Thanksgiving where we say we are thankful for what we have and then the next day people get run over and even killed to grab some new thing. People will yank something out of the hands of someone else. Fist fights start over stuff so that someone can have the joy of Christmas by getting more stuff than they need and stuff they do not need, but want it anyway.
Paul says to be content with such things as you have. The Western culture is never content. We just keep wanting and wanting. We throw out things that are not broken or wore out. We are just bored with it or we need to make room for the new thing that is all the rage. At the same time, there are people who would be thrilled to get our junk. They are amazed at the waste we generate from stuff that is functional.
We need a bigger house even though our family has not increased, but our stuff has. We need to live in a specific neighborhood when there is nothing wrong with the one we are living in so we move though we go further in debt and usually pay more taxes as that neighborhood has more expensive houses.
We need a new car when the one we have is working fine and is paid off. Ladies look into a full closet and say they have nothing to wear. They almost need a new closet just for shoes and purses. Guys want a new boat when what they have is fine. They want more fishing rods when they have a dozen already. It can be tools or something else that really do not need. They are just not content with what they have.
Is it not amazing that Paul says to be content with just food and clothing? Nothing mentioned about housing, transportation, entertainment, etc.
Most of us have eaten more than we need seeing that we are POGs (Persons of Girth). We will look into a full refrigerator, freezer and cupboards moaning that we have nothing to eat. What that really means is that we do not feel like cooking or there is nothing that fulfills our current lust while others have empty refrigerators and cupboards and do not have a freezer.
Sometimes I would love to see it be mandatory that every American has to eat MREs three meals a day for thirty days with no snacks. Some would be thrilled as it would be more food than they usually have. Most would be so thrilled at the end that they would be happy just to have a salad or a bowl of beans.
I do not know what the standard fare of common people was back in those days. I suspect it would change according to your location and wealth. For some it might be fish three times a day and others lamb.
In America I have heard many stories of people growing up with a primary diet of red beans and rice or mush with maybe chicken on Sunday or if they had the preacher over for lunch versus roasting him at lunch. They did not have the variety that most of our poor people have today. We fuss if a Chik-fil-a is not close enough to us.
Clothing was also not like we think of having clothing. I suspect they had just a few changes of clothing unless they were rich. For many years in India a girl got a new dress at 12 and when she married. I suspect they were only replaced when they became unwearable. Ladies, we will be wearing the same white robe for eternity and every woman will have the same robe.
I have not been a clothes horse since my hippie days when I had to express my individuality by wearing what all the other hippies were wearing. The military helped with that. I had one work uniform. I had one class A uniform. At one point, I had two Class B uniforms but they phased one out. I could put everything Uncle Sam gave me in one duffle bag. I could travel around the world with one piece of stowed luggage and a carryon. Try that civilian ladies.