[And it is, indeed, a source of immense profit, for] godliness accompanied with contentment (that contentment which is a sense of inward sufficiency) is great and abundant gain. ~(1 Timothy 6:6 AMP)
Content – adj-in a state of peaceful happiness. Verb-satisfy. Noun-state of satisfaction.
For years I didn’t know what contentment was. I knew what discontentment was; (a restless desire or craving for something one does not have.) I used to not care about the whole credit cards are spending tomorrow’s prosperity today and I did not like to deny myself anything. I used to have a shopping addiction and a little “retail therapy” can get out of hand quick. I had quite a bit of credit card debt at one time. Ok, well, like 3 times, but Thankfully & All Glory to God, I have ZERO credit card debt now. I was looking to external forces to try and fill that void that only God is designed to fill. I used to get upset and say my husband was too frugal. He was always the voice of reason, the kill joy of my desire to impulsively spend.
Frugal – saving or sparing; not wasteful; requiring few resources.
God began to show me the art of contentment and what being frugal really meant and how it all played into being a Good Steward.
Good Steward- doing the best with all things God has given us.
“Biblical stewardship”-utilizing and managing all resources God provides for the glory of God and the betterment of His creation.
Stewardship – a person using every talent and repeatedly sacrificing desires to do the right thing.
These are some things I have found that being a good steward we need to do:
A good steward focuses on God, not things.
And set your minds and keep them set on what is above (the higher things), not on the things that are on the earth. (Colossians 3:2 AMP)
I had always looked to earthy things before to satisfy my longings instead of God. When my focus was more on God, the glitter of the worldly things that used to distract me lost some of its sparkle.
A good steward examines their life.
Let us test and examine our ways, and let us return to the Lord! (Lamentations 3:40 AMP)
This includes our behavior, motives, thoughts, attitudes, and direction. Always ultimately imitating Jesus and returning to the Lord. Do I really need this? Is this the best use of my money, time, and resources?
A Good steward has self- control.
He who has no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down and without walls. (Proverbs 25:28 AMP)
I used to be a collector … a nicer way of saying I had a shopping addiction. I collected dolls, teapots, cookie jars, shoes, purses, perfume, jewelry, books. Etc.
Then God showed me this verse: “Don’t collect for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal.” But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (Matthew 6:19-6:21) I read it one day with fresh eyes and instantly decided to stop collecting. I did not want my heart to be with the wrong things. I asked myself was my collection of things bringing God Glory and was it bringing betterment to His creation? So I got rid of my teapots, I stopped buying expensive perfume, excess shoes, purses, I boxed up the cookie jars and dolls, I gave away a ton of jewelry , boxes of knick knacks and I am making some progress on the books. It is tough to deny ourselves. It can become stifling when our closets, cabinets, drawers, and garages are so cluttered it slowly takes the wind out of us. It is also slowly sucking the quality of our lives away one knick knack at a time.
A couple years ago we remodeled our home after 17 years. In the process of making things beautiful and simplified we had to get rid of a ton of stuff. Sometimes it is difficult to part with things because we can have emotional connections to things because we have a memory when we bought them or someone gave them to us or they once belonged to someone else that is no longer with us. I learned God doesn’t want us to make connections with things; we are to make a connection with people. It was a wonderful spiritual lesson about removing the “Stuff” to make room for more of God.
A Good Steward makes sacrifices.
Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self? (Luke 9:23-25 NIV)
Oh this is the one area that is so hard for most of us. I did not at first make these sacrifices cheerfully. Some of you may feel the same sting I did when I start suggesting some sacrifices like coloring your own hair instead of paying $150 every 4-6 weeks to have your highlights redone, Or packing lunch or cooking dinner instead of eating out, making your coffee at home instead of swinging by Starbucks every day, buying the $30 Dollar jeans instead of the $100 dollar name brand blinged out jeans, driving your car that’s paid for instead of eyeing your neighbor’s new car and running out to get you a new one with payments and interest, paying off your house instead of pining after a swimming pool or bigger square footage or the prestigious new neighborhoods, wearing the clothes in your closet instead of buying a new outfit, Limiting your manicures and pedicures to once a month or start to do yourself, mow your own yard, wash your own car.
The sacrifices we make show God we are serious about Gods business and not just about our own. Think of how many people you can help with all the extra money you could be saving. Think of how paying off all your debt would feel if you made just a few sacrifices? Don’t get me wrong, I think the occasional splurge is fine. I think sometimes those things can be sacrificed if only for a season.
I am all for buying good quality items but I am no longer hypnotized by a society that confuses your worth or status with what designer name brand your wear or carry or drive. It is the day in and out with no regard to the wasteful spending or not denying you the conveniences by not making a sacrifice that God looks at. Add up the cost on your collection of purses, shoes, jewelry, fishing equipment, guns, pictures, gadget, records, phones, movies, Starbucks, pedicures/manicures, perfume, etc. What is it costing you? What is it costing others? Are those things really for Gods glory and the betterment of His creation?
We can live comfortable and simplified lives without all the crazy spending and accumulation of worthless things and really be living a much richer and fulfilling life. When we live our lives with the real Good Steward definition of “utilizing and managing all resources God provides for the glory of God and the betterment of His creation.” And let it change our thoughts and become a part of us we will start to live genuine content and joyfully frugal lives knowing the really great and important things for Christ are priceless! ~~ XXOO Michelle Bollom