One of our most difficult choices was to sell a new home we had built a year earlier. No, we didn’t have mold in the basement or obnoxious neighbors living next door; we just couldn’t afford it. We were house poor and we were honest enough to admit it. Moving into a house half the size meant we had to swallow a great deal of our pride.
Why was that so hard to do that one spring? Materialism teaches the lie that we are what we own. It promises that whatever we lack in our self-confidence we can make up in what we own.
God offers a wonderful alternative to materialism. It’s called contentment. Contentment is the choice we make to be at peace with the provisions God has placed in our lives. It’s a radical and counter-cultural thought.
Who we are is shaped by what we worship. True self-confidence comes from worshiping Jesus Christ. He allows us to be at peace with what we own, even if God never adds anything to it. If we have worked hard and followed Christ diligently, then all we own is all God must believe that we need for right now. Do you know the best news of all? God’s contentment doesn’t cost us a thing — except our misery.
Maybe instead of just doing spring housecleaning this year you need to consider downsizing to give yourself time for what is really important. Maybe you don’t need to sell your home but maybe you need to give up something else that is hindering the new true wealth which is time. You will finally be able to afford both quality and quantity time with your family. You may finally have time for a date night every week with your spouse. You may have time to deepen your relationship with Christ. You may have time to find that Christ can meet your needs in any and every situation because you won’t be chasing and running after everything else. You may have time for Scripture memory, prayer, church attendance, and Bible study.
At the Christian college that Bob attended a most unusual college course was offered. For thirty days each January during the coldest month of the year in Minnesota, a history professor took students to live in what what was known as “The Depression House.” The idea was to replicate the difficult conditions of rural America in the 1930’s. For one month the students would forego hamburgers, pizza, and tacos for a diet consisting of cornmeal, homemade bread, and beans.
The irony is that students flocked to the course. The majority were from affluent homes in which they had never known deprivation or struggle. The value of the course was that they discovered true contentment and happiness can survive even a Depression.
The apostle Paul from the New Testament wrote most of his letters while held in damp and dreary prisons. We can assure you those awful prisons needed a real spring housecleaning, but Paul could speak of joy and contentment because he discovered that even in prison Christ is present and alive. The secret of contentment for the Apostle Paul was his relationship with Jesus Christ.
“I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” (Philippians 4:12b) God wants us to learn the lessons in our family and marriage that Christ is contentment. That’s the secret to really doing a spring housecleaning where it matters most — in your soul.
Copyright © 2008 Bob and Cheryl Moeller. All rights reserved.
Bob and Cheryl have co-authored two books. Marriage Minutes, Moody Press and For Better, For Worse, For Keeps, Marrriagevine Press can be purchased through Bob’s conference website.