True Contentment

Hebrews 13:5 – “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”

This unusual item was recently carried by United Press International: “A 54-year old man, who looks like a bum and lives like one, makes his ‘home’ under a bridge on Bunker Hill in downtown Los Angeles. But he’s not an ordinary tramp. He has more than $20,000 in a Burnt Hill, New York bank and doesn’t want it. For the second time in three years a lawyer visited him offering to give him the money, only to have him refuse it. ‘I don’t need it. I’m getting along just fine,’ the man with the curly beard told the attorney.”

As I read this account, I pondered, what determines a person’s needs? What is true contentment? I certainly would not imply that the bridge dweller’s style of life should be a model for anyone to follow. But his existence does suggest the fact that our needs are not always as great as we think they are, and that contentment can be found without all of the things considered so essential by our materialistic society.

Conditioned as we are by the persuasive influences of advertising and by a compulsion to “keep up with the Jones,” too often we are caught up in the frustrating whirl of pursuing things. As a result, our “needs” continually seem to increase, and the blessing of contentment becomes an elusive dream. This does not have to be the case, however. If we have God-honoring objectives, are diligent in fulfilling our responsibilities, and allow the Lord to determine what our real necessities are, we can know the meaning of true peace and satisfaction. With the apostle we can say, “I have learned, in whatever state I am, therewith to be content” (Phil. 4:11).

O Lord give me the grace to be
Content with what Thou has given me!
No more than that, let me rejoice
In all Thou sendest – Tis thy choice!