Herein is a great maxim in life; the more a person has, the less appreciative they become just as the less one has, their appreciation grows accordingly.
When we have nigh unto nothing in this life, the thanksgiving for what little we have is overwhelming. We know that our meager sustenance allows us to survive, and we are therefore extremely thankful for it. When we have an abundance in this life, we tend to take things for granted and we lose our attitude of gratitude for all we have.
Most of us who have lived a few years in this life have experienced times of incredible need as well as times of glorious abundance. Most of us have basked in the glow of plenty as we have also wandered in the wilderness of need. As wonderful as the times of bounty are, if we are honest, we know that usually those times led us to worldly excess and unwise choices. When we have nigh unto nothing, we become much more prudent and usually much more spiritual.
It is truly remarkable how people talk themselves into believing they “need” something they cannot afford. 99 times out of 100, if we cannot afford something, we do not need it. It is also amazing how little we truly need when we have very little to spend. “Need” is indeed relative for it is defined by our circumstances more so than our actual necessities.
Saul (Paul) was a very influential and affluent man. When Jesus met him on the road to Damascus, he demanded of him a lifestyle which turned him into someone with no influence and for all practical purposes, a man who lived like a bum. Paul spent years living in tents or with other believers. Paul spent years living in prisons and other undesirable places. Paul never complained but rather made the bold statement that he had learned in whatever state he was in therein to be content.
Our contentment is absolutely NOT determined by our outward circumstances. We can have nothing in this life yet still be the most contented person alive. Our contentment is internal and is built upon our relationship with God and our love for our Lord Jesus Christ. Whatever worldly things we accumulate in this life have no bearing on our ability to manifest love, joy, peace etc.
We live in the most materialistic and shallow culture in history. We are surrounded by people whose very measure of happiness is tied to their paycheck and how many toys they possess. We are bombarded by advertisements demanding we purchase this product or that in order to be content. It is all a lie and God says to “put away the lie...” in Ephesians.
Far better it is to have very little the world calls important but have peace, love and joy than to have all the world offers and be tormented by guilt, fear and pain. Our contentment is in the Lord and not in things.
I have learned that the things of this world are indeed temporal but the things of God are eternal! If our contentment is in the Lord, we will neve be disappointed.