Sermon No: 585-Contentment

SERMON TOPIC: Contentment

Speaker: Ken Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 11 July 2021


Sermon synopsis: There is a famous story about author Joseph Heller attending a party given by a billionaire. Another illustrious author, Kurt Vonnegut, informed Heller that the host, a hedge fund manager, had made more money in a single day than Heller had ever earned from his wildly popular novel Catch-22. Heller responded: 'Yes, but I have something he will never have: 'enough'.'

Heb 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.”


Heb 13:5 “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

Hebrews 13:5 is a well-known verse, but the portion above is not the whole verse. The full verse is:

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.”


1 Tim 6:3 If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, 4 he is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions 5 and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain. 6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.


1 Tim 6:9 People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. 11 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.


1 Tim 6:17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.


A Roman Catholic priest who had heard the confessions of thousands of people over the years said that he heard people confess most every kind of sin - including adultery and even murder - but never the sin of covetousness.

Covetousness is idolatry:

Col 3:5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: (KJV)


There is a famous story about author Joseph Heller attending a party given by a billionaire. Another illustrious author, Kurt Vonnegut, informed Heller that the host, a hedge fund manager, had made more money in a single day than Heller had ever earned from his wildly popular novel Catch-22. Heller responded: “Yes, but I have something he will never have: 'enough'.” 1

1 SOURCE: http://www.libertyfinancials. lib/ content/ images/ newsbreak/ PolicyHolderComm/ 20101206/ PolicyHolderComm_eng.htm


Joseph Heller (1923-1999) American satirical novelist, short story writer & playwright

What Heller is talking about is knowing what really brings you happiness. No matter how much we accumulate, there will always be someone who has more. We need to be thankful for what we already have - a job, a home, friends, family, and food on the table. The idea of "enough" is worth thinking about as we go into the festive season. This is a time where we often feel pressure to spend and accumulate more "things". We feel bad if we can't give our loved ones the gifts they want and often feel obliged to buy gifts for other people so we appear generous. Perhaps we should focus more on generosity of spirit, on giving of our time rather than from our credit cards. 1

1 Ibid


In the book How Much is enough? Arun Abey & Andrew Ford talk about the importance of both financial and personal planning. At some stage in your financial planning, you need to ask yourself how much money is enough, how much time with your family is enough, how much time to pursue your passions is enough and how you can balance all this to achieve a true sense of fulfilment. This is as important as asking how much you need to be saving because saving is the flip-side of spending. Does all that "stuff" you spend your money on actually bring you happiness? We tend to buy things to fill our home that do not bring us any real joy beyond the few minutes we spend actually buying them. We may find saving for a dream far more emotionally satisfying. 1

1 Ibid


I recently came across an article in Time that really brought the "stuff" we accumulate into perspective. In the article, organizational consultant Peter Walsh says "It's not necessarily about the new pots and pans but the idea of the cosy family meals that they will provide. People are finding that their homes are full of stuff, but their lives are littered with unfulfilled promises." Take a moment when you are with your family and friends to discuss what exactly it is that brings you happiness, whether you have "enough" and what "enough" means to you. You may be surprised by their answers as well as yours. Our wish to you this festive season is that you find the time to fulfil your promises and that you start the year with "enough". 1

1 Ibid


Dictionary definition of Contentment:

the state of being contented; satisfaction; ease of mind. 1

Bible Dictionary definition of Contentment:

a state of mind in which one's desires are confined to his lot whatever it may be (1 Tim. 6:6; 2 Cor. 9:8). 2

At this Christmas time, when many people spend too much and January is a lean month, it is good to be reminded that there are things that money can’t buy. N.B. It cannot buy contentment.

1 browse/ contentment 2 Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary


Satisfaction has to do with our desires being met. Sadly many Christians do not deal with their sinful, selfish desires and so remain dissatisfied and discontent. With regards to God they seek the gift and not the giver.

Benjamin Franklin (one of the Founding Fathers of the USA, author, printer, inventor and statesman) said:

“Contentment makes poor men rich. Discontentment makes rich men poor.”


Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790

There are things you need that you can do nothing about. But there are needs of others that you can do something about.

Acts 20:35 ... remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’

We can’t call ourselves poor – we don’t know what poverty is.

Did you go to sleep hungry last night?

Do you have no roof over your head and no clothes to wear?


Contentment has to do with thankfulness. We take for granted our health and our ability to walk, hear and see.

Fanny Crosby wrote over 8000 hymns including “Blessed Assurance”, “He Hideth My Soul”, “Near The Cross”, “Tell Me The Story of Jesus” and “To God Be The Glory”.

She was blinded when only six weeks old by a country doctor who prescribed hot mustard poultices to be applied to her eyes, which destroyed her sight completely! It was later learned that the man was not qualified to practice medicine .


Fanny Crosby (1820-1915)

Yet her indomitable attitude soon manifested itself and at eight year of age she wrote this poem:

“Oh, what a happy soul am I! Although I cannot see, I am resolved that in this world Contented I shall be. How many blessings I enjoy That other people don’t. To weep and sigh because I’m blind I cannot and I won’t!”


Helen Keller who went blind and deaf due to an illness when only 19 months old, said:

“Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn whatever state I am in, therin to be content”.

Another famous quote of hers is on the base of the monument in Washington put up in her honour:

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.”


Helen Keller (1880-1968) American author, political activist, and lecturer was the first deaf blind person to earn a BA degree.

Aren’t you blessed? Aren’t I?

Popular evangelical writer and minister John MacArthur said, “The antidote for covetousness is contentment. The two are in opposition. Whereas the covetous, greedy person worships himself, the contented person worships God. Contentment comes from trusting God.”


John McArthur (1939-)

C.S. Lewis, Christian apologist and author of “The Chronicles of Narnia”, wrote: “There are two kinds of people. Those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done’. And those to whom God says, ‘Alright then, have it your way’”.


C.S. Lewis (1898-1963)

Watchman Nee (1903-1972)

Watchman Nee said, “Actually, only God can satisfy a Christian's heart; man cannot.”

John Piper, Baptist preacher and author says, “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied with him.”


John Piper (1946-)

A.B. Simpson (1843-1919)

A.B. Simpson, Canadian preacher and founder of ‘The Christian and Missionary Alliance’ said “When you become satisfied with God everything else so loses it’s charm, that he can give it to us without harm.”

When Christians find contentment in the Lord, they will be content with whatever they have.

Content with food and clothing

1 Tim 6:8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.

Content with their wages.

Luke 3:14 14 Then some soldiers asked him, “And what should we do?” He replied, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely - be content with your pay.”


Content in any circumstance

Phil 4:10 I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you have been concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

Notice that everyone was not concerned about Paul’s need except the Philippian church (Phil 4:14-20)


Contentment goes beyond money and possessions.

D.L. Moody said, “There are many of us willing to give great things for the Lord, but few of us willing to do little things.”


D.L. Moody (1839-99)


Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968)

Martin Luther King Jr. was a clergyman and prominent leader in the African American civil rights movement. He said “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”

In 1957 Fortune magazine named Paul Getty the richest living American. At his death, he was worth more than $2 billion. When a reporter asked him, “How much money is enough?” he is reputed to have said, “Just one dollar more.”

François Fenelon (a French Roman Catholic archbishop, theologian, poet and writer) said, “Mankind, by the perverse depravity of their nature, esteem that which they have most desired as of no value the moment it is possessed, and torment themselves with fruitless wishes for that which is beyond their reach.”


François Fenelon (1651-1715)

Charles Haddon Spurgeon considered, by some as the greatest Victorian preacher, said, “You say, 'If I had a little more, I should be very satisfied.' You make a mistake. If you are not content with what you have, you would not be satisfied if it were doubled.”

The great German reformer Martin Luther said, “I have held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God's hands, that I still possess.”

You can only keep what you give away.


C.H. Spurgeon (1834-92)

Christian mystic, Madame Guyon said:

“To rob God of nothing; to refuse Him nothing; to require of Him nothing; This is great perfection.”

The Church Father, Augustine wrote,

God, You have made us for yourself, And our hearts are restless Until they find their rest in You


Madame Guyon (1648-1717)


Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations are taken from the NIV:

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB:

New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission. (