The Key to Happiness Is More Stuff . . . Right?

What Is Enough?

When people don't have very much, they often think that if things would just change, then they would be content. But I would gently ask them if they've ever seen that to be true. In their experience, do people become more happy when they get more?

I haven't seen that to be true. As a pastor, I get to visit with people from all different types of backgrounds and all different types of circumstances, and I've seen people that have quite a lot and aren't very happy. And I see people that don't have very much who are happy.

We learn from the Bible, from the apostle Paul, that the Christian's contentment should be able to survive both the highs and the lows. The reality of contentment in Christ, and the beauty of it, is that the bubble always stays in the center of the level. The highs and the lows don't affect the center because our contentment is in the unchanging God.

I have a friend who at one point was really struggling financially, and things were very difficult. He was thinking: If I could just have a little bit more, then I would be kinder to my wife, I'd be more patient, I'd be a better dad, I'd be more active in the church. If I just had a little more.

Chasing Contentment

Erik Raymond

In this immensely practical and encouraging book, Erik Raymond establishes what contentment is and how to learn it, teaching us to trust in the God who keeps his promises rather than our changing circumstances.

And God did answer that prayer—the guy's gotten a lot more. A lot of material things have come to him in the last several years, but I'm actually having a similar conversation with him: "Even though you have more, you still have the same issues. There are just different types of pressures."

So the presence of stuff or the lack of stuff are circumstances. They're external. They actually can't get inside and change the heart. Whether you have a lot or you have a little, that doesn't really move the needle for the bottom line of contentment.

Contentment actually is inward rather than outward, and it's a work of God's grace rather than a work of our flesh.

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