There’s a good reason why “keeping up with the Joneses” is a well-known phrase across the country. The consumer-driven mindset of constantly getting more, newer, better things is so deeply ingrained in our society that we coined a term just to describe the feeling. What’s more, as the holiday season comes into full swing, the advertising industry is gearing up and prompting us to buy, buy, buy—for our friends, our family, our neighbors, the postman, the delivery person, the checkout clerk at the store, and most of all – ourselves! We are pushed from all sides to forget our pledges of Biblical stewardship and satisfy our needs with material goods.
The interesting thing about this phenomenon is that the contentment we receive from the latest and greatest doesn’t last long. Did you just buy the latest smartphone? You’ll be the talk of the town until next week, when an even newer version is released. Have you purchased the car of your dreams? Chances are, you’ll second-guess your purchase when you see the same model in a different color. The problem with seeking contentment through material goods is that they do nothing to satisfy the deepest longing in our hearts and souls. Seeking fulfillment in things leaves us with a void that constantly requires more and more things in an effort to fill the void.
In Philippians 4:11-13, Paul writes about contentment. “I have learned to be content in whatever my circumstances. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Paul penned this letter from his prison cell, where he learned the secret to being content–he was probably cold, hungry, lonely and frightened, but he had a faith that was deep enough to realize that the Lord had given him exactly what he needed for that moment.
It can be difficult to give up the constant quest for acquiring all the shiny new things we see around us, but that’s what true Biblical stewardship encourages us to do. It is not a restriction or a punishment; rather, it is a deep and fulfilling inner peace, which no material item can ever provide. It’s knowing that your loving heavenly father is going to provide you with exactly what he knows is best.
This holiday season, turn off the television, quit surfing the net, close the catalogues and take the time to remember what giving thanks is all about. Cherish the moments with your friends, family, and loved ones, and understand that those precious moments are worth more than all the material goods in the world. For more tips and tools to help you along your journey to Biblical stewardship, contact Compass Catholic at (844) 447-6263.