To be content
Godliness with contentment is great again. 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. … For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. 1 Timothy 6, 6 – 8, 10
the nights are getting cooler. Do you need to freeze at night? In an old letter I read the following: "Dear father and sister, it´s freezing me so much you can not believe it, because it annoyed me that I did not bring a blanket and I have to freeze this winter so much. Dear sister, be so kind and let bring W. the blanket to me when he comes back and pack it in the box of fir."
This cry for help was coming from a poor woman who had emigrat to America about a hundred years ago. The wife did not have money to buy a warm blanket. - I read these old lines in an exhibition in the Amerika-Hafen (America-Habor) Steubenhoeft in Cuxhaven, a German city at the North Sea.
It certainly is one of our basic needs to do not freeze at night. Not only to be able having to eat and drink enough, to have enough clothes, but also to be able to sleep at night. In Frankfurt, the so called "cold bus" will surely be on the road again in the coming winter and will search the sleeping places of the homeless. Nobody should freeze or even freeze to death!
We Christians in Germany celebrate Thanksgiving on October 7th. Many churches adorn their altars with bread, fruits and vegetables.
Who comes to worship, should be reminded to whom he owes a life of prosperity. Being grateful for sowing and harvesting, for jobs and social protection, for freedom and democracy, but also for clothes and a roof over their head.
But ultimately, only those are thankful who are contented too. The apostle Paul recalls this in his very personal letter to his "spiritual son" Timothy. Being contented is the key to gratitude. And this is where many people probably have a problem: At what time I can be contented? At which time "enough" is really enough for me?
How many pair of shoes I do need? At which time I can say: it´s enough? At which time it´s enough what I have? Our Western consumer society lives off constant being discontented. The desire for something “new” or "more" should be constantly satisfied. How many cellars, attics and garages are now warehouses of abundance?
This must have been an issue in ancient times - even if there were no cellars, attics or garages. Because Paul reminds his young co-worker dealing again and again this important question of life. He should always keep in mind that he was born with nothing and will go with nothing into eternity. He should learn to be contented with what he has.
Paul knows about the great danger that even the faith in Jesus Christ can be shaken when it comes to loving money. He had bad experiences with preachers who wanted to capitalize on their "ministry." For the faith and making money an unholy connection had been received. He knew Christians, to whom the things of this world had become more important than the relationship with God. To be greedy to money, Paul writes, is a root of all evil.
Jesus Christ is warning about the greed of money. A man asked Lord Jesus: "Teacher, tell my brother to give me my share of what our father left us when he died." But Jesus answered: "Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?" Surely the man wanted to share the inheritance in his favor, with God's help.
Jesus corrects the claims of his listeners: "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man´s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”(Luke's Gospel 12: 13-14). The secret of a grateful life is in being contented. Not to be in the greed of having more and more.
In the proverbs I found a prayer that speaks of the yearning for contentment. Agur, the son of Jake, prays (Proverbs 30: 7-9): “There are two things, Lord, I want you to do for me before I die: Make me absolutely honest and don´t let me be too poor or too rich.Give me just what I need.If I have too much to eat, I might forget about you; if I don´t have enough, I might steal and disgrace your name.”
"Let me enjoy the bread I need," says another translation. There even sounds joy in thanking for the daily bread. For what I need and what I have. For the warm blanket, too.