In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
The late Ted Turner, founder of CNN, was once asked what it was like to be so successful and wealthy. He said, “Well, I think it’s kind of an empty bag, to tell you the truth, but you have to really get there to know that.”
That is what a billionaire said about wealth–once you attain it, you realize it is empty. It is a mirage. Yet the love of money can easily lure you off track in your relationship with God.
To keep materialism from detouring your relationship with God, you have to learn the secret of contentment. Hebrews 13:5 says, “Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have.” Admittedly, that is a lot easier said than done, isn’t it? The truth is, no matter what income level you are at, there is always somebody who has more than you do. And you think, “If only I could have this amount of money, then I could have all my needs met, and I would be free from the love of money. I just need a little bit more.”
But remember Ted Turner’s words: once you get that little bit more, it is an empty bag. Money does not satisfy your deepest needs. The secret to having your needs met is to learn contentment.
The word “contentment” comes from the same Latin root as the word “containment.” A content person is one who is self-contained. That is, his satisfaction in life is not tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the square footage of his home, or the kind of car he drives. He is not looking to external things to fill him up; he is looking inwardly. And for a Christian, that inward resource is a relationship with Jesus Christ. No amount of money or possessions can satisfy the void of an empty life. That is why Paul said in Philippians 4:11-12, “Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.”
What is the secret of contentment Paul spoke of? He told us in the next verse: “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” The secret to contentment is tying your sense of well-being to Jesus Christ. That is how you avoid the trap of materialism.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Detours That Destroy” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2020.
Ted Turner, as quoted in Gary Rosberg, “Guard Your Heart: For Out of It Will Flow Your Life Story” (Sisters, OR: Multnomah, 1994), 133.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org