PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• I love books. My living room bookcase is stuffed to the point of overflowing. On every shelf, there’s a row of books on the back, a row of books on the front, and in many places, books horizontally stacked on top of the rows of vertical books.
My preferred genre is Christian fiction with a little bit of Nicholas Sparks, Harry Potter, and of course, the ultimate fiction book, Gone With the Wind. However, I also have a number of spiritual growth books. The irony isn’t lost on me… I do not love reading books that fall into the “self-help” category but will buy the spiritual equivalent of self-help. Then, I never get around to reading them.
This year, I made a commitment to really dive into these spiritual growth books by reading a chapter each morning after I read my Bible. To hold myself accountable, I’ve been reviewing each book and posting to my website (www.MyGraceFullLife.com, “Reading List”). I am proud to say that I’m on my 20th book this year (which is about 18 more than I read from this genre last year). But I’m embarrassed to say that last week when I opened up my current book to start it, I discovered the receipt dated from 2014. Yep. Big rush to go buy it. Five years to actually read it. My husband isn’t remotely surprised by this confession.
But I’m loving it. Dave Ramsey may not be the first author most people think of for spiritual growth, but his book, “The Legacy Journey” is about the Biblical view of wealth and generosity. He also speaks of contentment and has given me much to think about. So much that (rabbit hole) I’m seriously contemplating and praying now about making contentment my word for 2020. Some of you may remember that I have a word of the year and this is the time of year when I start praying about next year’s word. Dave’s book has given me some fresh perspective on contentment and I’m so intrigued, I’m praying about whether God wants me to spend the next year focused on it.
Let’s look at 1 Timothy 6:6-8. It says, “ But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content” (ESV).
When we look at what we have, do we have enough? Most of us would say yes, we do have enough. But when we look at what we don’t have, is what we have still enough? It’s a hard question and I think if most of us are honest with ourselves, we’d agree that the “stuff” we don’t have can be an obstacle to our contentment.
I admit that when I think of Biblical contentment, these verses aren’t my go-to. Most of us think of Paul’s words from Philippians that lead up to what is arguably, one of the most popular verses in the Bible. “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:11-13 ESV).
I’m not sure I have anything particularly insightful to share today, though many of you probably want to come to my house and clean up my cluttered bookcase. (Don’t worry, it is organized, even if it is bursting at the seams.) My mind is full of thoughts, I just wanted to park this here today and continue to mull it over.
Today, as you pray, thank God for always being enough. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you develop a spirit of contentment in all circumstances.