“But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these.” 1 Timothy 6:8
“A man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” Luke 12:15
“Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread.” Proverbs 30:8
The following reasons may be assigned, why a Christian should be content with little.
1. Nature needs but little. A little simple food, and plain clothing, and humble shelter—this is all that man really needs. All that he possesses beyond it, is but the beholding of it with his eyes. King George the Third, walking out early one morning, met a lad at the stable-door, and asked him, “Well, boy, what do you do? What do they pay you?” “I help in the stable,” replied the lad, “but I have nothing but food and clothes.” “Be content,” replied the king; “I have no more.” All that the richest possess beyond food, clothing, and habitation, they have but the keeping, or the disposing, not the present enjoyment of. A ploughboy who thinks and feels correctly, has enough to make him contented; and, if a king has a discontented spirit, he will find some plea for indulging it. Nature is content with little, and grace with less; but luxury is seldom satisfied, and lust is never satisfied.
2. Outward possessions are insufficient. “A man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” Luke 12:15. A godly man is satisfied in himself, and a wicked man cannot be satisfied at all; his bosom is like the “But the wicked are like the tossing sea, which cannot rest, whose waves cast up mire and mud. “There is no peace,” says my God, “for the wicked.” Isaiah 57:20-21. Outward things can neither make a man happy or miserable. Ahab was discontented on a king’s throne; Paul and Silas were happy in a dungeon.
3. Our own unworthiness should make us contented with what we possess. Wherefore should a living man complain? A sinner has no right, and a saint has no reason.
4. A Christian has enough in possession and in prospect of spiritual blessings to make him contented and happy, whatever be his outward circumstances. He is a son of God; an heir of glory; and he is going home; a mean lodging or a rough road need not greatly discompose him.
5. The providence of God orders all things for him, and has engaged to order all in the very best manner. He need not fear being neglected, for his God is attentive even to the falling of a sparrow. He need not be anxious about food and clothing, for his Father knows that he has need of these things, and has promised that bread shall be given him, and his water shall be sure, and that all things shall work together for his good.
6. If we have but little in this world, we may content ourselves with the reflection that it is safer to have little than much. Many have been ruined by prosperity. Many have gone to hell splendidly clothed, and who lived each day in luxury! “How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!” Very wise was the prayer of Agur, “Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread.” Proverbs 30:8
7. Christians should be content, because time is short; and if time is short, trouble cannot be long. “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning!” These light afflictions are but for a moment, and then comes an eternal weight of glory.
– Gorham Abbott, The Family at Home