Posted by: mikenicholsblog | March 17, 2011

’tis the season … for contentment

Taxes are just a fact of life. Each year around this time, my wife and I prepare for the inevitable. Since we are both self-employed and never estimate enough, April has some sad moments. For those of you who get money back, you are probably smiling and thankful for the refund. For the rest of us: the Taxman cometh. Make no mistake, I believe we should pay our taxes and render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, but I still have to deal with my attitude. Since we all work hard for our incomes, often in our selfishness, we want to hold on to everything. My thinking was challenged with money, contentment and taxes during my reading this week.

Money and material possessions are a part of our culture. There is an innate desire in all of us that thirsts for more. Who doesn’t want a bigger car, nicer house or better paying job? Even the most spiritual of individuals will do internal battle over the desire for more vs. contentment in Christ. You may chuckle at my battle with paying taxes, but it illustrates a common thread in all of us. Paying fewer taxes keeps more money in my pocket (and yours), and therefore gives us a false sense of security. In truth, paying our taxes honors the desire of God for us. Don’t worry, this article isn’t about taxes, but how we view our money and possessions.

Hebrews 13:5
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

Isn’t it interesting that centuries have not changed the struggle that believers have with money? Intellectually we know the right perspective to have. Trust God for your needs. He is not going to forsake you. Why then do we hold our money tight, cringe at paying taxes, justify not tithing and generally refuse to live with contentment in what we have? One of my modern heroes in the faith, Larry Burkett (who passed away several years ago) used to say that money problems are just an outside indicator of an inside problem. I would submit to you that in certain seasons of life we will all be confronted with trusting God instead of our money or possessions. It will be an internal battle, with external consequences.

You may be reading this article with adequate assets and relative financial ease. The money vs. trusting the Father battle will still rage for you. Some may be reading this while out of work, or really battling up hill financially. It makes no difference in which situation you reside, God can be trusted with your life. Your assets and desire for more cannot! You can absolutely believe that God knows your position and wants to bless you. I can’t tell you how the rest of your financial journey will unfold, but I can tell you to rest in His care. If you do, contentment will come.

When I was young and broke and didn’t know better, I trusted God. Not surprisingly, He came through. Contentment wasn’t in what I had, and it never should be. Now as an older and wiser man, I sometimes get frustrated at the lack of contentment in what God has provided. You may feel the same. But God has never forsaken me yet, and my (and yours) contentment comes from a relationship with Him. It is easy to thirst for more money and better possessions, but we all know where real security and contentment are found. And by the way, if you haven’t done so yet, smile, trust God and pay your taxes.

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