Last night, Travis and I (with kids in tow) went to Toys ‘R’ Us to take out another chunk of our Christmas shopping. As we were driving through the parking lot looking for a place to park, Abel, knowing our expectations of him, said, “Mommy, I’m just going to pray before we go in the store.” “Okay,” I said. “I think that’s a great idea.” (Abel) “Dear God, please help me to not beg for stuff in the store because we already have a lot of stuff, and Mommy and Daddy already bought me some stuff. In Jesus, amen.”
Needless to say, I was extremely blessed and encouraged by my son’s example. He (1) acknowledged his many blessings, (2) knew the importance of being content, (3) recognized his need for help in being content, and (4) sought help from God.
The fact is, my four year-old took a couple steps that some of us adults have probably failed to take. On Black Friday one of my Facebook friends posted this as his status: “Fourth Thursday in November – Everyone remembers what he has and gives thanks. Fourth Friday in November – Everyone remembers what he doesn’t have and awakes early to go get it.” Isn’t that just so true of the average American? We are thankful for what we have, but we still want more. We never get as far as Abel did. We acknowledge our many blessings, but we don’t acknowledge our potential (or maybe even actual) lack of contentment.
Jesus teaches us in Matthew 6:13a that we should pray, “And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” In other words, we should recognize our weaknesses and pray for spiritual protection from temptations before those temptations ever arise! Who can think of a greater temptation to be discontent than the one facing a little boy going into a huge toy store at Christmastime?
Like Abel, we all face temptations that threaten our contentment, at least as much at Christmastime as any other time of the year. As we go about the business of making wish lists and fulfilling wish lists this Christmas, let us not only remember to be thankful for what we already have; but let us also recognize our need for God’s help in the midst of it all.
As you and I seek a place of contentment during this season which can so easily become more about stuff than it is about a Savior, let us reflect on God’s words and seek His help.
“But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.” (1 Timothy 6:6-8)
“Then He said to them, ‘Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.'” (Luke 12:15)
“Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, ‘I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you.'” (Hebrews 13:5)