First, some reflections on contentment…
“Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
“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.”
“For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you.Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God.”
II Corinthians 9:10-11
“Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, 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.”
1 Timothy 6:6-8
“And he said to them, ‘Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.’”
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
“Welcome to Costco, I Love You”
Have you ever ventured into Walmart to get a toothbrush, and come out with Pringles, socks, a set of 5 Tupperware, paintball mask, gym shorts, mayonnaise, 2 packs of markers, a car air-freshener, a dog toy, BOGO Doritos, pack of gum, and a set of 8 clothes hangers? How in the world did this sudden need of stuff happen? haha! How do I go from being 99% content to needing all these extra things?
Marketing and packaging can be tempting. Everything in our 1st-world society has been designed for the ease of the consumer: Packaging, drive-throughs, credit cards, television, movies, food, apps. If you own a smartphone of any sort, chances are there is a store in your pocket! Did you really ask for this? When I think about it, it really creeps me out how it got there.
It’s a real battle to fight for contentment in a 1st-world culture that is simply not content…
Here are 10 tips for Christians trying to manage consumer contentment,
- Connect yourself to poverty somehow. This is a powerful one. Talk to strangers, go on missions trips, make friends with those who have less than you! Luke 14:12-14
- When going to the store, know why you’re going. Bring a list of what you originally needed. Stick to it!
- Avoid wandering the shopping mall for fun. There are sooo many better ways to use your time wisely and have fun! You’ll find yourself not needing things you never knew about.
- Weather snail-mail or email, don’t subscribe or take in catalogs. Unsubscribe yourself from spam emails and marketing campaigns. It’s actually really easy, just click the “Unsubscribe” link near the bottom, and it won’t come back! I promise. It’s actually the law that it doesn’t.
- Don’t subscribe to services like Groupon or other types of daily deals. I’ve found these tend to make you spend and eat out more than you usually would.
- Avoid commercials whenever possible. You’ll be glad you did! For your computer, install Ad-Blocker software for your browser http://bit.ly/10aDVLM. Instead of TV, try using services like Netflix, Hulu, Roku, or unplug your TV altogether!
- Be content with watching movies when they come on DVD. You can own a movie for the same price as a ticket if you can muster the patience. To achieve this, it REALLY helps to avoid new movie trailers. If you avoid trailers, you won’t even notice you’re missing anything.
- When you see the word “Sale”, it really is saying “Sucker”. Avoid putting your thoughts on compettive coupons, sales, and bargin days. Did you really want 3 jars of pickles? Oldest trick in the book, don’t fall for that.
- Set aside a cash budget for restaurants and entertainment. This way, you’ll visually see how much of your budget you’ve spent. It hurts a lot more to spend cash than swiping a card. It really works!
- Obviously the greatest and only lasting fulfillment comes from enjoying a relationship with Jesus Christ. I just had to mention this somewhere. Discover “Christian Hedonism” if you feel like you could use some real contentment! http://bit.ly/10aEm8P