Is “Stuff” Essential to You?

June 14, 2021

“Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.” – Philippians 4:11

Contentment seems to be one of modern society’s rarest commodities. We only have to glance at social media or switch on the TV to be confronted with everything we’re lacking. Whether it’s an advertisement for material items you just have to have or photos of your co-worker’s most recent picture-perfect family vacation, it’s easy to compare your life with another’s “highlight reel.”

Isn’t it true that social media is just a polished and filtered snapshot of the “best” moments in life? It’s the highlights. Rarely does it show the bickering kids, stressed-out parents, or piles of bills lying in wait behind the smiling family photo.  Yet somehow, both advertisers, as well as ourselves, would have us believe that owning the latest gadget, going on that glorious vacation, or having a similarly glamorous “influencer” lifestyle is the key to finding fulfillment and happiness. It’s like this “stuff” is essential to our happiness.

What doesn’t always make the social media or advertisement fine print, however, is “happiness not guaranteed.” Even if we were able to accumulate all the “stuff” and emulate that person’s particular lifestyle – happiness and contentment are not guaranteed by-products. In fact, seeking satisfaction in things will never bring contentment; it just leads to further dissatisfaction. So, how do we find contentment? Like so many other things, contentment is a choice.

The apostle Paul, a man who had more than his share of difficulty in life, said, “I have learned to be content regardless of my circumstances.” What was his secret? The key was found in his relationship with Jesus Christ. That’s the key for anyone. We all have the same opportunity to find contentment. It’s a by-product of our relationship with Jesus Christ, our Savior, and Lord. That is the key to being content.