What is contentment? The dictionary defines it as a state of happiness and satisfaction, but I believe that it runs much deeper than that. Similar to joy, contentment is a state of being that we have access to as followers of Christ. It’s living your life from a place of knowing you are enough and you have enough. This kind lifestyle isn’t based on our circumstances; rather, it is a choice we make.
With WealthBuilders, we talk about building a lot. (It’s in our name, after all.) Building wealth, a career, and a legacy are all noble and biblical pursuits, but these actions and plans must be balanced with contentment.
Building is an action, and contentment is the heart posture you need to have as you build. However, oftentimes people choose one or the other. Some people adopt the action and a heart posture of building, so the pursuit of more prevents them from enjoying the very thing they’re building.
Ecclesiastes 3:24-25 offers some lighthearted wisdom on this subject: “There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, from a part from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment?” If you don’t learn how to be content with little, you will never feel like you have enough.
Others become too content in their actions and do not build anything at all. People who let contentment slip into apathy do not actualize their God-given potential, and they do not get the pleasure of seeing their visions come into reality. We need to hold contentment and productive activity in tension with one another. The key to this balance is gratitude.
There are several bible verses about thankfulness, but Psalm 16:5-11 paints a beautiful picture of how to be content and build at the same time. In this gratitude blog, we will unpack what this Psalm has to teach us about the connection between contentment and praise.
“The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
You hold my lot.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
Indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.”
The easiest way contentment is snatched from our midst is by fixating on what we don’t have. It is easy to become anxious when we focus on what isn’t in our control. In other words, too much content robs contentment.
God has drawn out the boundary lines of each of our lives. Rather than feel constricted by these boundaries, we can rejoice in what we do have. God has intentionally given us particular talents, material goods, relationships, etc. He knows exactly what we can handle, and what would be too much. As you build, take stock of what you already have and thank God for everything he has done.
The poet who wrote Psalm 16, King David, was the youngest from a family with many sons. He couldn’t expect any inheritance from his family, yet he knew that God had allocated a beautiful inheritance for him. Regardless of your circumstance—what you were born into or what you have now—God has a kingdom inheritance for everyone who follows him.
“I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
In the night also my heart instructs me.
I have set the Lord always before me;
Because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken,
Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices
my flesh also dwells secure.
For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
Or let your holy one see corruption.”
In these verses, David creates a gratitude list. He knew that praise was the key to combating pressure, anxiety, and darkness. Here, David lists that he is thankful for: God’s advice and wisdom, physical protection, and the spiritual protection that keeps him from corruption. We can also thank God for all of these things—we are his holy ones!
When you feel discontent or anxious, make your own gratitude list. It could start with something as simple as ‘God, I’m grateful for this sunny day.’ As you continue to list things and pray, the items on your list will become deeper and more personal. Seeing your list on a sheet of paper can help ground you in the reality that you are blessed.
“You make known to me the path of life;
In your presence there is fullness of joy;
At your right hand there are pleasures forevermore.”
Fullness of joy and eternal pleasures—that’s something to rejoice over, don’t you think? Gratitude is the gateway to reality. When we cultivate gratitude in our lives, we become more aware of the blessings and opportunities that are right in front of us. That’s because when we choose gratitude, we start to see with our spiritual eyes.
Understanding where you’re going starts with knowing where you are. So, when we cultivate contentment for our present season, we begin to trace God’s intentionality throughout our lives as well. Common themes might start to emerge, and you get a better sense of your calling. When you fully appreciate and take advantage of your present moment, God will show you the next step or half-step He wants you to take as you build your life.
I hope this gratitude blog gave you the encouragement you need to fight the spirits of greed and anxiety with the Spirit of Truth and Peace. Content people rest in the knowledge that they have more than enough. So, while writing lists is a good way to cultivate contentment, so is giving. When you donate your time or finances, you position yourself in physical agreement with the reality that you have blessings to spare.
Tomorrow is Giving Tuesday, a global generosity movement that was created to ignite the spirit of giving during a time where consuming is at a high. Whether it’s WealthBuilders or another nonprofit, I encourage you to ask God if He’s leading you to donate somewhere this Giving Tuesday.
At WealthBuilders, we deeply feel the need to disciple people regarding biblical principles of finance so they can fight greed and build wealth for the Kingdom of God. If that mission strikes a cord with you, you can financially partner with us here: https://www.wealthbuilders.org/donate/ We appreciate you!
What are some more bible verses about thankfulness that have encouraged you? I would love to hear more about your journey towards contentment in the comments.