Encouragement for Today
Amy Carroll, Proverbs 31 Speaker Team Member
I Timothy 6:6, “But godliness with contentment is great gain.” (NIV)
Displaying signs in your house is “in,” and I love them. I have several peppered around various rooms. One says “Plant Joy.” Another one that makes me giggle every time I look at it reads, “What if the hokey pokey really is what it’s all about?” I Corinthians 13, the love chapter, was printed in the shape of a heart by a beloved friend and hangs by my door to remind me of my priorities as I pass. The sign that pierces my heart each time I read it, though, reminds me of my current struggle. On an aged board is printed, “For a happy life, want what you have.”
I’ve never had problems with coveting…until now. Isn’t it always true that difficult circumstances bring things into our view that we never knew were hiding deep in our hearts? God has been so good to our family, and He has shown Himself as our Provider over and over again. When our children were very young, I often testified to friends that we didn’t keep a budget because living on one salary wouldn’t work out on paper. It was true, yet God rewarded our frugal living and obedience by helping us to make ends meet. An unexpected refund or help from a loving relative appeared just when we thought we couldn’t make it.
God has called our family to a different phase recently. I was feeling increasingly out of control of our spending, so I reluctantly obeyed God’s gentle urging and worked on creating a formal budget. Some very good things have come from this. With all the chaos straightened out, I can again see God’s provision both in spiritual and financial arenas. Before, I was too consumed with keeping my head above water to see how God was still working to provide for us. The budget has also helped in a very practical area, too: sleep! I had begun waking early in the morning with a very anxious mind and heart. I’m sleeping better and worrying less. That’s good!
However, I found myself convicted of envying those who aren’t in the same struggle financially. At first, I justified those feelings as “normal” and surely not sin since I didn’t want any specific material things. It wasn’t as if I wanted my friend’s bigger house or that red convertible on the car lot. But God is faithful, and He just wouldn’t let me simmer in my own sin. He has been showing me that He calls me to contentment with what He chooses to provide. Discontentment and wanting a position of financial wealth that is beyond what He has provided are actually covetousness. Repentance was in order!
My sign is a constant reminder to be thankful (Though it is hilarious that I bought it to remind myself—I guess I haven’t fully arrived!). I Timothy 6:6, “But godliness with contentment is great gain” (NIV), has become my mantra. Even as I wrote bills today, I reflected on how God has met all our needs and many of our wants. He is worthy of praise, and my greatest contentment is found in Him.
My Prayer for Today:
God, You are my provider, and You are good. Help me to find full contentment in You in every phase of life. Fill my heart with the knowledge that You provide exactly what I need and help me to seek Your face, not just Your hand. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Saturday Morning Shoppers – Tips for making your yard sale trip a success
Dollars and Sense by Cynthia Sumner
Five-Star Living on a Two-Star Budget by Margaret Feinberg and Natalie Nichols Gillespie http://proverbs31.gospelcom.net/newresources_5Star.htm
Honestly assess your financial priorities. Do they honor God above all else?
Pray about making a budget based on sound budgeting practices.
On a scale of 1-10, how content do you find yourself?
What brings you true contentment rather than temporary happiness?
How is God calling you to invest your finances and time to build His kingdom rather than your own?
Matthew 6:33, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (NIV)
Matthew 6:24, “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” (NIV)
Philippians 4:11b-13, “…I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation…I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (NIV)
Originally published Tuesday, 02 January 2007.