1. "And David took more concubines and wives out of Jerusalem, after he came from Hebron, and other sons and daughters were born to him."
II Samuel 5: 13, Amplified Bible
2. "Then all the wicked and base men who went with David said, "Because they did not go with us, we will give them nothing of the spoil we have recovered, except that every man may lead away his wife and children and depart.' David said, ‘You shall not do so, my brethren with what the Lord has given us He has preserved us and has delivered into our hands the troop that came against us. Who would listen to you in this matter? For as is the share of him who goes into the battle, so shall his share be who stays by the baggage. They shall share alike.' And from that day to this he made it a statute and ordinance for Israel."
I Samuel 30: 22-25, Amplified Bible
"Greed Versus Contentment"
"It is the best riches not to desire riches."
What does the word "greed" mean to me in practical, everyday living?
What am I contented with in my own life?
What are the ways I can live a "contented" life in a "discontented" world?
"Content(ment) makes poor men (and women) rich; discontent makes rich men (and women) poor."
"(She) is much happier that is always content, though (she) has ever so little, than (she) that is always coveting, though (she) has ever so much."
The English poet Charles Caleb Colton observed that "contentment doesn't depend on what we have." As he correctly noted, Diogenes thought a tub was large enough while for Alexander the Great, conquering the entire world was not enough to bring him contentment.
Today, if you were asked, "What is enough for me," what would your answer be?
I find it interesting that here in the United States over the last twenty years, many of those with great sums of money, have built huge homes with so many rooms, you would ask yourself, "What in the world could one family do to fill the place?"
It seems that before some of these folk built these palatial houses, it would have done them well to check on the historical data provided by earlier generations around the world who used their wealth in a similar fashion. For building large homes is one thing -- but taking care of those homes through the years, is quite another.
When I was young and working as a Nurse Practitioner in Los Angeles, I had a colleague whose parents owned a very well-known chain of women's dress stores. My friend's father and uncle, the founders of the stores, died and the new management didn't keep up with the times. Consequently, what was once a wealthy family, ended up seeing their fortune dwindle.
I'll never forget one evening being invited to my friend's mother's home in Bel Air, California, a very posh community for the rich and famous. She gave me the proper code and directions to allow me access to the gated community and I drove through the streets gasping at the magnificent mansions. When I found the correct address and pulled into the driveway, I couldn't believe what I saw. It was an impeccably cared for spread with well-manicured lawns and gorgeously gardened flower beds.
However, upon entering the dwelling, I was shocked to find a rundown interior. It was obvious the maintenance on the outside of the home was only window-dressing to cover the disrepair inside. As I later found out, there was just enough money to handle the outside upkeep and property taxes and no money left over for anything else.
Whenever I've found myself bitten by the bug of discontentment, I go back to that evening and remind myself that having more isn't always all it appears to be on the outside.
In our two texts today from the life of David, we find a stark comparison between the spirit of sharing and the spirit of greedy desire. And don't be fooled, this spirit lies within the heart of each of us. For whether we have a lot of money or things, it is rare indeed for the desire for more not to haunt us at one point or another. Everyday, I find in my mailbox some catalog informing me that my life would be improved if only I had a certain item. Long ago, I came up with a system for keeping myself from what I call "impulse purchases." Jim laughs at my "system" but he thinks it works beautifully. If I see something in a catalog I believe I can't live without, I put the catalog aside for two weeks -- and if after two weeks I'm still interested, I wait two more weeks. And if a month goes by and I've lived fine without the item -- I don't need it! Period!
However, greed and discontentment aren't only qualities related to material possessions. The idea of greed being related to people is portrayed all too well in David's life.
Discontented with one woman -- David, we find, added to his harem with wife after wife. As the ruler, he could have whomever he wanted. And so, he let his desires rule as he saw and took. Tragically, this greedy obsession did nothing but give him a heartache of trouble and left a lasting legacy of pain upon the lives of his children.
Compare David's greed for more women with his experience in Ziklag where every family unit, whose husband was part of David's band of warriors, got to share in the spoils of war and benefit from the bounty of all. As David told everyone, since God is our provider and protector, we should all share alike.
I find this to be the key to our lesson on greed and contentment from the life of David. Since all we have and enjoy is from God and belongs to Him, should we not be contented with His gifts to us, be they little or large?
One of my favorite songs from years ago is "The Best Things In Life Are Free." Whenever that rotten spirit of discontent tries to upend my heart, I repeat some of the words to this gorgeous melody, "The moon belongs to everyone...the stars belong to everyone...the flowers in spring, the robins that sing, the sunbeams that shine, and love can come to everyone, the best things in life are free."
If you, like I, are ever tempted to think "enough-isn't-enough," just go outside at night and look up into the sky and find the Pleiades, a star cluster sometimes called, The Seven Sisters. In Job 9: 9 (Amplified Bible), Job is speaking in awe and wonder at our God who, "made the constellations the Bear, Orion and the Pleiades, and the vast starry spaces."
Whenever I read this text and look up and see that brightly clustered group of stars, my heart settles into an emotion of contented love for a Father who runs this complex universe. Certainly, a hand this strong and gentle, this great and guiding, can run perfectly the small world of Dorothy. And He can do the same for you, as well. why should we ever be greedy for more or discontented with the gifts from our Father's gracious hand?
"The holy person is the only contented (woman) in the world."
"O God, make us more thankful for what we have received, more content with what we have, and more mindful of other people in need: we ask it for His sake who lived for us in poverty, Jesus Christ our Lord."
Sion H. Baynes
Dorothy Valcarcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
P.S. My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus is available where Christian books are sold. They can also be purchased through Paypal at www.transformationgarden.com or by calling our office toll-free at 1-888-397-4348.
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