November 23, 2021
By Karen Hunt
I have always thought that Black Friday was a strange day. On Thursday, we give thanks for what we have, and on the next day we rush to acquire more!
Every year, news crews film people who even spend Thanksgiving Day in line at their favorite stores, so they can be sure to be first in line to get their bargains on the next day. I remember, in shock, seeing people taking the risk of crossing a major road in the dim light of early morning at a random spot so they could shop at an electronics store chain one Black Friday.
But Black Friday, as excessive as it is, reveals a deep drive of human nature: to get more and more, even if it’s not needed.
This drive is addressed in numerous places of the Bible. Being content with what you have is a topic written about throughout the Old and New Testaments.
Paul in I Timothy 6:8 (NIV) is direct about this matter.
“But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.”
Now that is something that we don’t hear much in modern life: that having just the basics is enough for us, and having enough is just fine.
Later in the New Testament, the unnamed author of Hebrews takes up the same message.
Hebrews 13:5 (NIV)
“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have…”
That is a lesson that I have been learning. Last year, I started decluttering my basement. I was stunned and even embarrassed about how much I had. I realized that I had bought many of these items because I wanted to improve and change myself quickly, going for the newest piece of exercise equipment or the latest book, instead of fully using it or reading what I already had. The purchases, I realized, had come from a sense of insecurity and impulsivity, not contentment or realizing my security on God.
So how do we find contentment in a world in which we are encouraged to get more and more and one in which acquiring is used in an attempt to heal ourselves? In the second part of Hebrews 13:5, the writer gives us the answer.
“Because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.'”
That God is always with us, never letting us go, gives us the confidence that we can be happy, be content with just enough because He is with us, and He completes us in a way that no rash or expensive new purchase can do.
So, as we go into the holiday season, where it sometimes seems that spending huge sums is a requirement, let us know that contentment doesn’t come from a big screen TV or a new video game console; it comes from God alone.
Photo Credit: Mohamed Nohassi