Getting Your Attention

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.    I Timothy 6:6-8

Contentment is not an easy lesson to learn.  We are constantly bombarded with advertisements and pressure to have more, buy more, consume more.  We NEED the newest, fastest, latest… phone, car, toy.  My kids are already talking about their Christmas lists.  Mind you, Christmas is only 13 weeks away.

Paul writes to Timothy that godliness with contentment is great gain.  You can’t take it with you.  Our Gospel lesson this week from Luke 16:19-31, tells the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus the beggar.  The rich man was not generous and faced punishment after his death, whereas Lazarus ends up in the bosom of Abraham.  The Rich Man begs Abraham to send Lazarus to tell his brothers that punishment awaits them as well if they don’t change their ways.  But Abraham replies, “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.” (Luke 16:31)  Even a visitation from beyond the grave would not get their attention.

What does it take to get our attention?  What sign do we need to point us to contentment rather than jumping deeper into the “rat race”?  I really believe that gratitude and generosity are the keys to contentment.  If we continue to remind ourselves of the blessings that we have been given, we see the abundance rather than the lack.  When we look at all we have to be thankful for, our hearts are changed to notice God’s provision and gifts rather than asking for more.  God may be using you to be a blessing in the life of another person.  Our simple acts of  generosity can mean life and hope for someone.

This week, in your prayers, notice how many times you say “thank you” to God and how many times you ask for something for yourself or for others.  God wants to hear our requests and petitions.  God also wants to show us the bounty of his blessings in our lives.  Ask God who needs you to be a generous blessing in their life this week as well.

Holy God, you reach out in love through Jesus Christ to save us so that we may live as faithful servants of you alone.  Unchain us from our desire for wealth and power so that we may, in turn, release others from the prisons of poverty, hunger, and oppression. Amen.

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