Contentment: How Much Is Enough?

Matthew 6 30
“It is not good to have everything one wants.” — Blaise Pascal

In this world of instant gratification and unlimited choices, we often find ourselves surrounded by mountains of things — furniture, knickknacks, toys (for children and adults), tools, clothes, and so on. Are all these things bringing us real joy and happiness or are they prohibiting us from seeing what really matters? It’s amazing what simple rules we can relearn when we open our eyes.

There are two wings that raise a man above earthly things, simplicity and purity. — Thomas à Kempis

With the pace of the world today, we are often moving so fast that we don’t pause to consider what we really need. Are all these things in our lives adding value or just adding clutter to both our surroundings and our lives? Are they complementing our lives or complicating them? With each additional thing often comes additional stress — how to use it, where to put it, and ultimately how to pay for it.

Looking back on your early childhood, what intrigued and interested you? For many of us, it was the joy of spending time outdoors.

One day I had the pleasure of visiting the Niederman family farm in Hamilton, Ohio. The Niedermans have been in farming for many generations. Farming life is so important to them that they open up their home, their land, and their barns so folks can come experience what farm life is like. Among other events at the farm, each October they create a giant corn maze for children and adults to wander through day or night by flashlight.

This past year they were digging out an area for a new addition to their corn maze attraction. A large pile of dirt was placed off to the side until they could determine how to make good use of it somewhere else on the farm. However, they found themselves at the opening day of the corn maze before they got an opportunity to take care of that pile of dirt. Not only was the corn maze a hit as usual, but to their surprise, children immedi-ately gravitated to that large dirt pile. Kids were running up and sliding down this unintentional playing field. There were no blinking lights, no electronics, no sound effects. The sounds of laughter and fun filled the autumn air as kids did what kids do best — be imaginative and seize the moment.

If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers — most of which are never even seen — don’t you think He’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do His best for you? — Matthew 6:30

It is good and fitting for one to eat and drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labor in which he toils under the sun all the days of his life which God gives him; for it is his heritage. — King Solomon, Ecclesiastes 5:18

As adults, we often find ourselves acquiring more and more things for ourselves and our children — whether it’s the next great video game, cell phone, computer, or the latest hot new toy. As we add more material things to our lives, we often forget not only what’s most important but also what it feels like to be childlike — to truly experience life in the moment and therefore be more carefree.

When we focus on what really matters, on what we and our children truly need, life becomes a whole lot simpler — and something as simple as a dirt pile suddenly becomes a whole lot of fun again.

We can say joyfully with Paul, “And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content” (1 Timothy 6:8).

”Eliminate physical clutter. More importantly, eliminate spiritual clutter.” — Terri Guillemets

True godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. — 1 Timothy 6:6

* * *

Your Turn

• How much is enough?

• Where and what can you declutter from your life?

• Read Philippians 4:11–13 and consider how it does or does not reflect your life. Are you truly content? Or is your life full of striving?

What about you? Leave your comments and responses to these questions below. ~ Devotionals Daily

David Zerfoss

A leader with an innate talent to touch, move, and inspire others, David Zerfoss lives his purpose of "empowering others to create powerful futures." He leads the Zerfoss Group, which consults with think tanks, major corporations, and entrepreneurs. As an executive-in-residence at Queens University McColl School of Business in Charlotte, North Carolina, he enjoys sharing transformational thinking and leadership insights with aspiring MBA and executive MBA students.

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