1 Timothy 6:6-7 But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.
I love to give gifts. More than giving them, I love to see that the receiver is grateful and excited to use the gift that I have given. The more I see someone using that gift, the more I want to continue giving them gifts. It is sad when you joyfully give a gift to someone you fully expect them to use and enjoy but see them just shrug it off like “Oh well, I could have lived without it.” Regrettably, I have probably been that person a time or two. Some of the sins that God says He hates (jealousy, stealing, lying, cheating, and a haughty spirit) are a direct result of an ungrateful spirit.
Working with adults with disabilities, I have had the opportunity to be grateful for my physical and mental wellness. One of these ladies who had cerebral palsy and no use of her right hand, frequently had food on her shirt after lunch, never could pull her pants up straight, but she always had a smile on her face and joy in her spirit. I commented one time about her always having such a good attitude. She told me, “It just makes things easier.” Wow, what a powerful lesson from someone the world would consider “less than.”
When we moved to San Diego, we had only planned on staying long enough for my husband to complete school. At first, we lived in an apartment, which quickly became too small with the addition of a daughter. So, thinking we would only be here for a couple more years, we bought a mobile home. I was okay with it for a while; we entertained, had grandma live with us, and added to our family while there. But after a while I started to resent it; the old carpet, the leaking roof, and admittedly the stigma that went along with living in a “trailer”. I did what I could to make it our home but did not really allow myself to be comfortable or content.
I was no longer grateful for what I had at one time viewed as an answer to prayer. Through a series of convicting conversations with the Father who loves to lavish gifts on His children, (Matthew 7:11) I realized that I needed to be grateful for what I had and be content until He decided to change our living circumstances. Once that decision to be content was made, I also decided to make our home as nice as we could with the money that we had. We bought some carpet and linoleum remnants and began the transformation. The day we were putting the carpet down, a lady came by and wrote us a check for our mobile home that was just perfect for her mother.
We rented a house for a year and were quite content there. But God had other plans, better plans than I would have ever thought possible. Through the hospitality, generosity, and skill, God used a sweet family to help us get into our first “real” house; three times bigger than the trailer, twice the size of the rental, and brand new to boot. If that was not enough, He even gave us wonderful Christian neighbors on a street named after HIM!
James 1:17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
I fully believe that God loves to lavish us with gifts (some tangible some not so tangible), and when He sees us using the gifts that He has given us, he is pleased and wants to bestow more gifts on us. He never promises us that we will live in a big house, drive a nice car, or have a big family. The world’s view of success is not God’s view. Sometimes gratefulness and contentment are visible to the eye, but more than that, they are attitudes of the heart. Remember, God does not look on the outside, He looks at our hearts. Are you missing blessings that He has waiting for you because of an ungrateful heart? Look for the things, small and big in your life, that you can be grateful for. You will be amazed at how you are blessed with contentment by simply practicing gratefulness.
1 Timothy 4:5 For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.