During September, the COMPASS blog is digging deeper into the topic of conversations about money by sharing different perspectives, questions, and approaches. Today we welcome Dori Zerbe Cornelsen, from the Mennonite Foundation of Canada, back to the blog. Join Dori in thinking about contentment. As Dori mentions, First Things First and many other resources on the COMPASS website help pursue living with a deeper sense of contentment. See what you think and please join the conversation on Facebook or here on the blog by leaving a comment.
“Which would you rather have – 10 kids or $10 Million?”
During a presentation I once asked the group, “Who comes to mind when you think of the word contentment?” Someone said his grandfather used to ask this question. Without much hesitation, I said, “I’d choose the $10M.”
“Wrong answer,” the person said. “Because if you have $10M you are never completely sure you have enough but if you have 10 kids… you know you have enough!”
Contentment probably does have something to do with having enough. In studies that test the link between money and happiness, one consistent observation is that the association of happiness-to-money plateaus when people have enough money to meet basic needs, have good health care and safety, etc. – any increase in money above this level does not predict the same increase in happiness.
We live in a culture that promotes being discontent. Spending on advertising in North America is projected to be more than $200B in 2015 all to remind us that we should be dissatisfied.
So, can we be content? Way before people did studies on money and happiness, Paul wrote a letter to Timothy in our Bible that includes pretty much the same observation:
“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.” (1 Timothy 6:7-8).
Paul goes on to warn Timothy that unchecked dissatisfaction can lead to pretty grim consequences.
“True contentment frees us to enjoy our gifts in the present. To be content does not mean that we don’t work for better tomorrows or plan for the future. It does mean that we do not let our dreams and concerns about tomorrow rob us of fully enjoying the gifts we have today.” (p. 35)
How are you choosing contentment?
Image Credit: Money
This blog is a component of the Ecumenical Stewardship Center’s COMPASS initiative to engage young adults in conversations about faith and finances. Like what you see and want to know/do more? Visit the COMPASS web page and join the COMPASS community on Facebook.