My One and Only Need


The secret to managing the material world is found in focusing on one thing instead of many: Contentment—our one and only need.

Hebrews 13:5-6

Take a survey of any number of professional or trades people and ask them to list what they need in life. The lists you get back will be lengthy. First will appear the obvious: Food, clothes, a house, a car, and a job. Beyond the “basics” you would encounter a telephone, a washer and dryer, a refrigerator, a television, furniture, a computer, a cell phone, an internet connection, a fax machine, tools of the trade . . . well, the list could go on forever. Life has become so specialized and complex, and our standard of living so advanced, that what would have once been considered unthinkable luxuries are now considered necessities. One of the greatest challenges Christians face is to stand at the intersection of “What Is Possible” and “What Is Necessary” and determining a direction to go in life.

The writer to the Hebrews gives us the way to narrow the focus and determine the direction. Our tendency is to focus on an infinite number of choices represented by the things we have (“Do I really need this?”) or could have (“Should I acquire that?”). Every single one of those possible acquisitions represents an individual decision we must make, which is why we tend to throw up our hands in resentment over the whole issue. The secret to managing the material world is found in focusing on one thing instead of many: Contentment—our one and only need. The writer to the Hebrews says, “Be content with what you have.” Notice he doesn’t say, “Don’t acquire anything,” or “Be destitute.” He says, “Be content.”

Being content means being satisfied with one’s condition today. If we acquire something new tomorrow, we should be no more satisfied with it than we are today without it. If we lose something we have today, we should be no less satisfied today without it than we were yesterday with it. Contentment means being free from the love of (or control of) material things.

And why are we able to be content whether we have “things” or not? Because we already have the only thing that ever really matters: God himself, who says, “I will never leave you; never will I forsake you.”

God’s Promise to You: “When you see contentment as your only need, it will become all you want.”

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