Financial Freedom vs. Financial Contentment
When my children were young, I used to read books aloud to them at night. They enjoyed the funny ones a lot, but the adventure stories always captured their imaginations. Any good adventure book or movie always tells the story of a quest for good to prevail in some form or fashion. I believe that this “journey of good over evil” theme is so fundamental to great storytelling, because it reflects the story of God’s redemption of His creation and of humanity through Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection. Every inspiring human story is a reflection of His story.
As a young person, you are naturally gifted with hope, vision, and optimism. As a young Christian, you are also gifted with the truth that all of the pain or trials in your life (including financial) are simply tools for God to use to tell His story of grace and redemption in your own personal life.
Because you know this, you are uniquely capable of understanding contentment in ways that your peers cannot. Your young peers can dream, but those dreams contain fears. Your young peers can hope, but those hopes can invert to despair. Your young peers can experience optimism, but that optimism can tarnish into cynicism. However, because you know the “real story” – the story of eternity – and because you know the “real hero” – Christ – your faith can unlock contentment.
God will always use your money to teach you about yourself, the world, and Him. Whether you have a little or a lot of money, you can practice the faith of contentment by understanding your lack or your abundance as gifts from His hand. As a Christian, when your dreams succeed, contentment teaches you to be grateful for God’s blessing without grasping for more control. As a Christian, when your plans fail, contentment teaches you to rely on His plan without despairing of hope. Contentment is a faith-gift that comes from knowing God more deeply.
In addition to being a by-product of faith, contentment is a by-product of discipline. Paul “learned” to be content (Philippians 4:11). Learning contentment takes time. It involves choosing to lay down fear and striving and control, because you trust God more than yourself or your money. Contentment is like athletic training – you can discipline yourself to achieve it.
In your financial life, I pray that God will teach you to be content, so that you can watch your own story unfold with hope and assurance, because you are confident in where the storyline is headed.
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