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To Have More Learn To Be Content With Less

Stewardship Contentment Wisdom

Source: CNBC.COM, by Emmie Martin, January 20, 2018

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Rod Crowell | Date Posted: 2018-02-02

Scripture: Haggai 1:6 ; 1 Timothy 6:6

Author: Rod Crowell
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ILLUSTRATION

Emmie Martin on CNBC reports: 

"Best known for his roles in movies such as 'National Treasure' and 'Leaving Las Vegas,' Nicolas Cage was once a top earner in Hollywood, worth $150 million.  But Cage didn't hold on to his fortune for long. He squandered it away on a string of expensive and often eccentric purchases, eventually facing foreclosure on several properties and owing the IRS 6.3 million in property taxes. Now worth around $25 million, Cage is taking roles left and right to help pay off his debts." 

What does she mean by 'expensive purchases'?  Try 15 residences (yes, all at once), two European castles, a deserted island in the Bahamas, a 9-foot-tall pyramid-shaped burial tomb, numerous shrunken heads, a pet octopus, and to cap it all off, a $276,000 dinosaur skull that turned out to be stolen and had to be returned to the Mongolian government. Mr. Cage, known for his adept portrayal of eccentric figures, appears to have a touch of that in his own private life.  Yet there's more to learn from his example than merely being more cautious with our money.

APPLICATION

In fact, the Bible tells us that those who fail to place the highest priority on honoring and worshipping God will tend toward impoverishment.  The prophet Haggai chastened the Israelites returning from Babylonian captivity for lavishly furnishing their own homes rather than rebuilding God's Temple, first.  He said, "Give careful thought to your ways.  You have planted much, but have harvested little.  You eat, but never have enough ...You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it" (Haggai 1:5-6).  

On the other hand, 1 Timothy 6:6-7 reminds us, "But godliness with contentment is great gain.  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.  People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires...." 

That's wisdom meant for you and me, not just for the likes of Nicolas Cage.  

Wedding Guest Asked To "Adjust" Gift

Contentment Generosity Entitlement

Source: “Outrage over wedding gift that ‘wasn’t generous enough’” By Toby Meyjes for Metro.co.uk, May 10th, 2016 7:55 pm

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2016-08-12

Scripture: Hebrews 13:5

Author: Illustration Exchange
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ILLUSTRATION

Toby Meyjes, writing for Metro, reports on a wedding guest who revealed she was contacted by newlyweds to say her gift wasn’t generous enough.

The unnamed guest posted to a forum on Mumsnet asking for advice after she was told the £100 cheque she provided wasn’t enough.

She revealed how the couple, who had asked for cash gifts, had emailed to say they were ‘surprised’ by her contribution and suggested an ‘adjustment.’

She went on to say that the bride and groom declared ‘we were surprised that your contribution didn’t seem to match the warmth of your good wishes on our big day.

They added: ‘In view of your own position, if you wanted to send any adjustment it would be thankfully received.’

The wedding guest assumed that the reference to her position was in regard to a recent inheritance. She then asked …

'Should I reply, ring them, ignore it or what?’

The suggestions ranged from ‘cancelling’ the check, to telling mutual friends about the incident, to sending a glitter bomb. 

Instead, she chose to respond with the following: 

‘I assume this was some sort of mistake?’

 

 

APPLICATION

Many of us struggle with being as generous as our faith calls us to be. But perhaps the real lesson of this story lies at the other end: Learning to be content with what we receive. Judging others for their lack of generosity comes easy.  What’s much harder is to keep one’s own sense of entitlement in check.  The world doesn’t owe us as much as we tend to think.  When we have to resort to shaming others to get what we want out of them, it might be time to let it go. It’s just not worth forfeiting our contentment, not to mention the likelihood of losing a relationship.

“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' ” (Hebrews 13:5). 

Winning The Lottery Without Losing At Life

Happiness Wealth Contentment

Source: “$900 Million Prize, 1 In 292 Million Odds — And A Few More Lottery Numbers” By Camila Domonoske, Updated January 10, 2016

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2016-01-13

Scripture: Proverbs 10:22

Author: Illustration Exchange
6

ILLUSTRATION

People are buying tickets in droves in the hopes of winning the now $1.5 billion and growing lottery jackpot, not only the largest ever jackpot in the United States, but in the world.

ABC reports, “The jackpot is so big that billboards in Texas and around the country have to advertise the price as $999 million because they're not built to show billions.”

The way the lottery is growing in America, they may need to build new billboards for future drawings. Camila Domonoske with NPR writes:

$70 billion — [is] the total amount Americans spent on the lottery in 2014, the most recent year for which data is available, according to the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries.

CNN Money calculates that's more than Americans spend on sports tickets, books, video games, movie theaters and recorded music, combined.

NASA's annual budget, for comparison, is around $17 billion. Total U.S. foreign aid for next year: just shy of $38 billion.

It’s clear that Americans are chasing a dream, and they are willing to spend a lot of money to catch it. But there’s a problem, and it’s not just the 1 in 292 million odds of ending up with the winning ticket. Recent history has taught us that just because someone becomes instantly rich doesn’t mean they'll end up with any greater sense of happiness.  

Domonoske explains:

Zero. That's the impact of a lottery win on net happiness, at least at first.

A famous 1978 study found that major lottery winners were no happier than ordinary folks, and actually got less joy from daily activities. A 2008 Dutch study found winning the lottery doesn't make a household happier.

Now, a caveat: Two studies out of England suggest that it is possible to win the lottery and be content — but only eventually.

"No researcher has ever found that people are happier in the first year after winning the lottery," one of the researchers told The New York Times

And the Times' social science reporter suggests that it might take longer and longer to find contentment the larger your win is.

 

APPLICATION

Despite the high expectations, winning the lottery doesn’t solve our interpersonal problems, but will probably make things worse as friends and relatives clamor for their piece of the prize. Neither will it result in a greater sense of happiness as we suddenly have so much more wealth to worry about protecting, investing, etc. 

Most will never have the chance to find out how they'd do with untold wealth, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a lesson here for the rest of us. The reality is we all live with the same false hope as the lottery winner—the expectation that the next big promotion, the next good turn of fortune, will finally bring us the contentment and happiness that has eluded us so far.

Let the lesson of past lottery winners be a lesson to you. That transcendent, immune-to-life’s-assault happiness we all search for can’t be purchased or won, but is the byproduct of faith—the result of possessing spiritual riches.

“The blessing of the LORD brings wealth, without painful toil for it.” (Proverbs 10:22).

Let The Ice-Cream Melt

Contentment Circumstances Faith

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2015-09-22

Scripture: 1 Timothy 6:8

Author: Illustration Exchange
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Good To The Last Drop

Contentment Devotion God's Love

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2015-09-07

Scripture: Isaiah 26:9 ; Romans 8:35

Author: Illustration Exchange
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Stay In Your Call

Calling Contentment Purpose

Contributed By: Eric Hollar | Date Posted: 2015-07-13

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 7:24

Author: Eric Hollar
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I Can Get Some Satisfaction

Satisfaction Contentment Happiness

Contributed By: Mitchell Dillon | Date Posted: 2014-12-18

Scripture: Philippians 4:12

Author: Mitchell Dillon
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Staying Where You Belong

Ambition Pride Contentment

Contributed By: Joshua Noble | Date Posted: 2014-06-30

Scripture: 1 Timothy 6:6

Author: Joshua Noble
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Inoculate Yourself With Gratitude

Gratitude Spiritual Health Contentment

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2014-05-28

Scripture: Philippians 4:8 ; Proverbs 17:22

Author: John Henry Jowett / Illustration Exchange
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A Complaint Free World

Complaining Gratitude Contentment

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2013-11-19

Scripture: Philippians 2:14

Author: Illustration Exchange
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