Summary: This sermon explores the research of Solomon on the secret to contentment in life.
Intro: Why is there so few people in the world who are content with life?... so few people who are satisfied with their life.
Philippians 4:11-12 Paul wrote that he had learned the secret to contentment.
Typical logical deduction would assume that the more a man has, the more content he would be. (ill. Skit: “Your money or your life”)
I AM REALLY CONTENT...
I am really content — until I start looking through the Sears catalogue.
I liked my car — until I saw the new P T Cruiser.
I am satisfied with my clothes — until I stroll through American Eagle, or the other Mall stores.
I love our home — until I think of what it would be like to own a log cabin on the shore of some remote lake.
I am satisfied with every area of my life — until I start comparing with someone else’s life.
I feel like I have enough of everything — until I see someone who has more.
SOURCE: Rodney Buchanan in "An Attitude of Gratitude" on www.sermoncentral.com.
Solomon who has researched and experimented on this subject says that more possessions and more money do not bring more contentment (v.10) Huh?!
It’s one of those things that just don’t make sense to a normal human. "Have you had a taste of the best this world has to offer? You went to Hawaii once on vacation, so now it’s harder for you to enjoy the state park. You’ve eaten a steak at Ruth Chris, so it’s harder to be thankful for a meal at Ponderosa. You’ve driven a Jaguar, so now you can’t be as content with your used Chevrolet. You’ve cheered for a national champion, so now it’s difficult to be grateful when your team has a good season but doesn’t take home the title..."
"It is a rare person who, when his cup frequently runs over, can give thanks to God instead of complaining about the limited size of his mug!"
Think about how much better off I am than many dead rich people of the past… History books are filled with wealthy people who were practically destitute compared to me. I have a 2 ton heat pump and energy efficient storm windows; Julius Ceasar did not. Entire nations trembled before Alexander the Great, but he couldn’t buy dog food in bulk and he didn’t have a Sam’s Card. Napoleon didn’t have Directv complete with hundreds of channels and with the Sunday NFL Ticket Package.
Given how much better off I am than so many famous dead people, you’d think I’d be content. The trouble is that, like most people, I compare my prosperity with that of living persons: neighbors, friends, the rich and famous.
There is really no rising or falling standard of living. Over the centuries people simply find different stuff to feel grumpy about. You’d think that merely not having bubonic plague would put us in a good mood. But no, we want a hot tub too.
Adapted from Condensed from Home, David Owen, in Reader’s Digest, July, 1996, p. 193.
Reasons money can’t buy happiness (5:10-17)
1. As money and possession multiply so do problems (v.11)
2. The blessing of possessions bring the curse of responsibility for them (v.12) (ex. every seminary student dreams of a “big church”)
3. As money and possessions multiply so does greed (v.13)
4. People tend to put their trust in their money and possessions instead of God (v.14) (Prov 23:4; 1 Tim 6:17)
5. Money and possessions can’t do anything for us in eternity (vv.15-16)
a. Everyone will leave this world empty-handed
i. Formula for self assessment: Add up everything you have that money can’t buy and death can’t steal.
b. In the late 1800’s, an American tourist visiting Poland was welcomed at the home of a learned Rabbi, Hofetz Chaim. He was surprised to find the Rabbi’s home was a simple room filled with books, plus a table and bench. He asked, “Rabbi, where is your furniture?” “Where is yours?” replied the Rabbi. “Mine?” asked the puzzled American. “but I’m a visitor here; I’m only passing through.” “So am I”, said the Rabbi. Let’s not get too tied to this world, and we’re not home yet. Robert Leroe @sermoncentral.com
3 Truths you must understand in order to experience contentment (5:18-6:2, 9)
1. Happiness is not a goal to achieve but is something we find as we are seeking to achieve our God-given goals. An old dog was watching a young dog chase his tail. The young dog stopped to rest, and told the older dog, “I believe happiness is in my tail, and if I catch it, then I will have happiness!” The older, wiser dog said, “I caught mine once. . . and I found out that happiness is not in the catching, it’s in the pursuit.”