Contentment: our only entitlement

Contentment: our only entitlement Written by Shana Heslin

Contentment: our only entitlement

Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. 1 Timothy 6:6-8

We all have wants that go beyond our needs. More often than not, we are inclined to feel like we deserve something just because we want it. Our human reasoning tells us that the longer we wait, the more we suffer, and that our suffering earns us the right to what we desire.

When we investigate human behaviour, we quickly see that man is primarily driven by selfish desires. Unless a person makes an active attempt to avoid a selfish mindset, there is sure to be a constant cycle of wanting what we do not have and then becoming dissatisfied with what we already have. This even happens regarding what we once thought was an urgent necessity! You know that out-dated phone you now want to replace? I bet there was a time you were rushing to the shops to fulfil all of your dreams with that one purchase.

Our society is pervaded by a sense of individual entitlement. This arises partly from the Western cultural value of focusing on the individual rather than the group (e.g. prioritising the success of an individual over what is advantageous to the family or the wider community).

Adoration of the self is further encouraged under the modern ideals of fairness and equality. These concepts are nice and seem to reflect godly values, but when the godly aspect is ignored, we are left with an empty shell of entitlement. Advertising takes full advantage of our penchant for feeling that we should be rescued from the misery of life's ills and that we "deserve" the things we want. Life is hard, and we deserve to be rewarded for all the difficulties we've been through. So, go and buy a new car. Isn't that a nice feeling!

Furthermore, our constant and immediate access to any material thing we could ever want twists our sense of rights and privileges. We have the propensity for thinking that everything we have to start with is a basic right, which can and should be improved upon. Public transport is never fast enough. Supermarket prices are too high. The education department does not provide enough free computers to schoolchildren.

I am as guilty of this as anyone. We are all guilty of it, because we are human. However, it is important to be aware that we have the tendency to think this way, because it is in fact contrary to what God asks of us.

In Exodus, we read the story of God's people wandering in the wilderness. We know that their shoes never wore out; they had manna from heaven, and endless gifts from their loving Father. Yet, they still found reasons to complain and want more. If they had only been content with these incredible miracles, their whole generation would have seen the Promised Land.

The fact is that God blesses us by his own good grace, not because we are entitled. Life is already a gift, and I bet that each of us could count a vast number of extra blessings as well.

Even in the face of these wonderful gifts from God, as long as we have expectations that exceed what we have we will only feel discontentment.

Let's go back to the basics and be thankful.


Related Articles

Making Life Work

Making Life Work

Looking for some good advice? You may not realise it, but you probably already own the best self-help book ever published, one that's loaded with practical guidance to help you achieve success in your career, friendships, finances, family and every other aspect of life. That book is your Bible. We've prepared this guide, Making Life Work, to help you discover the Bible's principles for success.

Marriage & Family

Marriage & Family
The Missing Dimension

Marriages in the 21st century are in crisis! Divorce is rampant and many no longer expect to have a life-long relationship. Can a potential couple know what true love is? Are there guidelines for a happy and productive marriage? Our booklet on marriage and family contains biblically-based articles that will help you understand how to build a truly loving and life-long relationship.

What You Need to Know About Baptism

What You Need to Know About Baptism

What is the purpose of human life? Are we here for a reason? Does the Bible provide answers for these questions? What does the Bible mean when it talks about repentance, baptism and conversion? Inside this booklet you will find the answers to these questions.

"...Broad is the road that leads to destruction...and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it" (Matthew 7:13,14).

Transforming Your Life

Transforming Your Life
The Process of Conversion

In this booklet we will examine the Bible's teaching on conversion—it is not just a one-time event. Instead the Scriptures reveal that it is a process. The process begins with God's calling, followed by the key steps of repentance, baptism and the receiving of the Holy Spirit, finally climaxing with the return of Jesus Christ — when the dead in Christ are resurrected to immortality and given eternal life — the ultimate transformation!

Tools for Spiritual Growth

Tools for Spiritual Growth

Are you desiring a closer relationship with God? If so, where do you start? What tools can you use to grow spiritually and build that all-important relationship with your Creator? This important study aid will set you on the right path. Read and begin implementing these important elements today!

About the Author

Shana Heslin

Beyond Today Magazine

  • Can You Change the World?

    Can You Change the World?

    Can You Change the World?

    Much of life today seems beyond our control, with the world heading into worsening times. Each day brings news of some big event that impacts us—if not directly, at least weighing us down with serious concerns about the future. War continues in the Middle East and Ukraine. The Hamas atrocities against Israelis were shocking and horrifying. Israeli retaliation brought more scenes of suffering and death. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has ripped apart lives and threatens other European states. But what can we really do? Initial shock and prayers for peace give way to trying to get on with normal lives.

    Debt and inflation

    I read a lot about inflation eating away our savings and pushing many people to the edge of insolvency. Food and energy prices take increasing chunks of our monthly wages. The Bible talks about putting money into “a bag with holes” (Haggai 1:6)—a hole in your pocket in today’s language—as a sign of a sick and weak economy, as it is now.

Free Bible Guides

  • Managing Your Finances

    It's a struggle for most.  What does the Bible say about managing your wealth and our attitude toward it? Is money really the root of all evil?

  • Overcoming Pornography Addiction

    Overcoming Pornography Addiction

    Pornography addiction is a real and very serious problem for people of all types and backgrounds. It may even be a serious problem for you. If you or someone to know is struggling with the sexual sin of porn addiction, this study aid can help break the chains of slavery to sin.

  • Tools for Spiritual Growth

    Tools for Spiritual Growth

    What tools can you use to grow spiritually and build that all-important relationship with your Creator?

  • What You Need to Know About Baptism

    What You Need to Know About Baptism

    Are we here for a reason? "...Broad is the road that leads to destruction...and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it" — Will you?

  • Overcoming Alcoholism

    Overcoming Alcoholism

    Alcohol can be an uncomfortable subject. If you have an alcohol problem it's not easy to admit it and seek help. If you know someone with a problem, confronting them with the issue or knowing how to help can be very difficult.