Money and possessions do not bring contentment, only greed
MOST of us will have delighted in tearing off wrapping paper covering our Christmas gifts. Perhaps some will have spent time comparing what we have just received with what others have and thinking 'I want that one'. And already we may be thinking 'I know what I want what I really, really want. When I get it I will be so content'. Experience tells us that it is not always so. Money and possessions do not buy contentment.
Such thoughts are not restricted to Christmas. Despite hard times, materialism remains the god of our age. The top priority for so many is to earn as much money as they are already spending, and to get as many things as possible. So how can we live in contentment?
In our church we are taking ten weeks to look at the Ten Commandments and how we can apply them for healthy living today, starting with Do not covet. To covet is to desire with absolute intent something (or some one) that cannot rightfully be ours. It is the last of the commandments; we began with it, as breaking this one often leads to breaking many more - lying, stealing, giving false witness, unfaithfulness and sometimes even murder. Coveting is most closely related to materialism today but an attitude for more, can cause worry, weariness and gloom. The Bible says that 'many craving money have pierced themselves with many sorrows'.
Realistically we cannot have everything but we could make the best of everything we do have. A few principles may help:
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Develop an: 'attitude of gratitude' being thankful for what we have.
Recognise the limitations of money / wealth.
Focus on people and not possessions.
Grow in generosity to others.
Society often sees value only in the things we have or own. With the eye of faith we can look beyond what is temporary. However much or little we may accumulate in life, we leave everything behind when we die. Jesus said what benefit is it for those who gain the whole world and yet lose their soul.