Ecclesiastes 6:9 says, “Enjoy what you have rather than desiring what you don’t have…” Isn’t it true that what we don’t have often keeps us from enjoying what we do have? Here’s what happens:
- A man goes out and buys a shotgun to enjoy some hunting. That shotgun has sat unused for years now. Why? Because as soon as he got the shotgun he set his sights on buying a boat. Now he works so much to save up to buy the boat that he doesn’t have any time to hunt. In other words: What he doesn’t have is keeping him from enjoying what he does have.
- Ladies – remember when you dreamed of having your own home? You couldn’t wait to have a place of your own to decorate how you wanted without having to ask the landlord. Well, now you have it. But what do you do? Do you enjoy what you have? Or do you immediately set your sites on a bigger home in a nicer town that’s a little newer than the one your in now? If you’re doing that, what you don’t have is keeping you from enjoying what you do have.
So many people end up in debt because they violate this verse. They keep purchasing the things they don’t have instead of enjoying what they do have. And deeper and deeper and deeper into debt they go.
- If buying that new car will put you in debt, maybe you need to enjoy the car you do have instead of desiring the one you don’t have.
- If buying that new phone will put you in debt, maybe you need to enjoy the phone you do have instead of desiring the one you don’t have.
- If buying those fancy designer clothes will put you in debt, maybe you need to enjoy the clothes you do have instead of desiring the ones you don’t.
Let me talk to you for a minute about some of the dangers of always wanting more – the dangers of not being content.
1. Your home life starts to deteriorate. Here’s how it goes. It happens in four phases.
- The first phase is your yearnings start to exceed your earnings. You see something you want and you can’t afford it so you say “I’m going to go out and get those things.”
- This ushers in the second phase. You get over extended financially. You have more than you can pay for.
- This brings on the third phase: You have to constantly hustle. You get extra jobs – both husband and wife are working. You have to work at night. You have to constantly hustle to make ends meet.
- Then comes the fourth phase: Your home life starts to deteriorate because you’re tired. Everybody’s exhausted. Everybody’s irritable.
This cycle doesn’t just affect husband and wife – it also negatively affects the children. In America we have an epidemic of absentee parents, in part because we violate this principle of contentment. Our kids don’t need more things. They need their parents. They don’t need more stuff. They need our attention. If we don’t observe this principle of contentment we’ll be so busy making a living we won’t have time to make a life. And that’s not what God wants for you.
2. Your stress levels go through the roof
Listen to what Solomon wrote in Proverbs 15:16, Better to have little, with fear for the Lord, than to have great treasure and inner turmoil. Here’s what he’s saying:
- It’s better to eat Ramon Noodles with peace than Filet Mignon at a fancy restaurant with the inner turmoil that comes with charging it to your credit card, thereby increasing your monthly balance, which is already too high as it is.
- It’s better to drive an older, not so stylish car in peace than something fancy with the inner turmoil that comes with high monthly payments.
- It’s better to wear clothes that aren’t name brand in peace than wear designer clothes with the inner turmoil that comes from trying to dress like you’re rich when you’re not.
Debt brings stress. Living within your means brings peace. This is why Christian financial guru, Dave Ramsey, has named his finance course Financial Peace University. In the course you learn how to get out of debt, live on a budget and be content with what you have – and that brings financial peace. Yes, doing your finances God’s way bring peace! This is why 1 Timothy 6:6 says “Godliness with contentment is great gain…” What do we gain by doing finances God’s way? We gain peace! What do we gain by violating God’s foundational pillars of finance? Turmoil! So let’s commit together to enjoy what we have, rather than desiring what we don’t have (IF we can’t afford it). This is God’s principle of contentment.