Why is Contentment So Important?

Corey —  June 11, 2012

Out of all of the financial themes from the bible, contentment keeps coming up. In case you haven’t checked out the list of bible verses about money, there is a wide list of bible verses that have to do with contentment. Contentment means the act of being satisfied with what you already have. In some ways, it is the exact opposite of greed.

If you look at the list of bible verses more closely, you will see that the theme of contentment comes up over and over.

  • Psalm 37:16 – Better is a little that the righteous has, than the abundance of many wicked.
  • Proverbs 15:16 – Better is little, with the fear of Yahweh, than great treasure with trouble.
  • Proverbs 30:8-9 – Remove far from me falsehood and lies. Give me neither poverty nor riches. Feed me with the food that is needful for me; 9 lest I be full, deny you, and say, ‘Who is Yahweh?’ or lest I be poor, and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.

These are just a few of the many verses on contentment. The message seems to be clear: Value what you have. Don’t live your life in search of possessions. Search for meaning in people and God. And so on…

This sounds great, but can it be that simple? If this is God’s message to us, why is it so important. Why does it keep coming up, over and over.

Conservation of Resources

One of the first things that comes to mind is the conservation of resources. It’s no secret that the act of being green and frugal often overlap. When you are content with what you have, you are not driven to consume. Consumerism is rampant in the U.S. We strive to get more stuff, drive faster, get the latest and fanciest pieces of technology, and the list goes on. Unfortunately this means that we are using more of our natural resources and contributing to global warming. I’m aware that there is some disagreement over the issue of global warming – primarily if we are the cause (because it does exist), but irregardless, there is still an important biblical theme of stewardship. God asked us to be good stewards of his creation, and this is particularly relevant to issue of environmentalism.

Is it possible that God was/is warning us against our own self-destruction?

Are We Consuming or Being Consumed?

I remember when my wife and I started to have a little extra cash for the first time in our adult lives. Being a product of our culture, we asked what we could do with it. Questions about what we should buy (if anything) or where to go, were the popular topic. For anyone who has given into this, even in small bits, I am sure that you recognize (at least on some level) that stuff won’t make you happy. It may improve your life in some ways (and can therefore be “okay” with the right motivation), but it should never be the end result.

I often wonder if consumerism is about us buying and/or consuming resources or about us being consumed by our greed and want for stuff – because that is how it feels sometimes. If we are honest with ourselves, I think we will find ourselves looking for happiness in the stuff we buy. Is it possible that the impulse to buy and/or consume is doing more harm than good? (in more than one way)

I believe it is in a combination of these two reasons that contentment becomes so important. It is with contentment that we are reminded of what is important in life: friends, family, life, God, etc. All the other things have very little meaning.

Why do you think contentment is so important?




Corey is currently pursuing a Master of Arts degree in religion. While he enjoys learning and writing about Christianity, another one of his new passions is writing about personal finances in order to help others make wise decisions with their money.