• Topic > Christian Living > Contentment >

    Our Deepest Longings

    As a young man, Duncan had been afraid of not having enough money, so in his early 20s, he began ambitiously building his future. Climbing the ladder at a prestigious Silicon Valley company, Duncan achieved vast wealth. He had a bulging bank account, a luxury sports car, and a million-dollar California home. He had everything he desired; yet he was profoundly unhappy. “I felt anxious and dissatisfied,” Duncan said. “In fact, wealth can actually make life worse.” Piles of cash didn’t provide friendship, community or joy—and often brought him only more heartache.

    Some people will expend immense energy attempting to amass…

    Whack-a-Mole

    You might know what it’s like. The bills keep arriving after a medical procedure—from the anesthesiologist, the surgeon, the lab, the facility. Jason experienced this after an emergency surgery. He complained, “We owe thousands of dollars after insurance. If only we can get these bills paid, then life will be good and I’ll be content! I feel like I’m playing the arcade game Whack-a-Mole”—where plastic moles pop up from their holes, and the player hits one after another with a mallet.

    Life can come at us like that at times. The apostle Paul certainly could relate. He said, “I know what…

    The Secret

    Sometimes I suspect my cat Heathcliff suffers from a bad case of FOMO (fear of missing out). When I come home with groceries, Heathcliff rushes over to inspect the contents. When I’m chopping vegetables, he stands up on his back paws peering at the produce and begging me to share. But when I actually give Heathcliff whatever’s caught his fancy, he quickly loses interest, walking away with an air of bored resentment.

    But it’d be hypocritical for me to be hard on my little buddy. In comical caricature, he reflects a bit of my own insatiable hunger for more, my assumption…

    Rich Toward God

    Growing up during the Great Depression, my parents knew deep hardship as children. As a result, they were thrifty adults—hard-working and grateful money stewards. At the same time, they were never greedy. They gave time, talent, and treasury to their church, charity groups, and the needy. Indeed, they handled their money wisely and gave cheerfully.

    As believers in Jesus, my parents took to heart the apostle Paul’s warning: “Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction” (1 Timothy 6:9).

    Paul gave this advice in…

    Going, Going, Gone

    The mischievous artist Banksy pulled off another practical joke. His painting Girl with Balloon sold for one million pounds at Sotheby’s auction house in London. Moments after the auctioneer yelled “Sold,” an alarm sounded and the painting slipped halfway through a shredder mounted inside the bottom of the frame. Banksy tweeted a picture of bidders gasping at his ruined masterpiece, with the caption, “Going, going, gone.”

    Banksy relished pulling one over on the wealthy, but he need not have bothered. Wealth itself has plenty of pranks up its sleeve. God says, “Do not wear yourself out to get rich . . .…

    Greedy Grasping

    In the ancient fable The Boy and the Filberts (Nuts), a boy sticks his hand into a jar of nuts and grabs a great fistful. But his hand is so full that it gets stuck in the jar. Unwilling to lose even a little of his bounty, the boy begins to weep. Eventually, he is counseled to let go of some of the nuts so the jar will let go of his hand. Greed can be a hard taskmaster.

    The wise teacher of Ecclesiastes illustrates this moral with a lesson on hands and what they say about us. He compared and contrasted…

    Eat and Repeat

    When Kerry and Paul got married, neither one knew how to cook. But one night Kerry decided to try her hand at spaghetti. She ended up making lots of sauce and too many noodles, so the couple had it for dinner again the next day. On the third day, Paul volunteered to cook, doubling the amount of pasta and sauce, hoping the huge pot would last through the weekend. As the couple sat down for dinner that night, however, it was Kerry who confessed, “I’m sick of spaghetti.”

    Just imagine eating the same meal as the Israelites did—for forty years. Each morning…

    For Love or Money

    Irish poet Oscar Wilde said, “When I was young I thought that money was the most important thing in life; now that I am old, I know that it is.” His comment was made tongue-in-cheek; he lived only to age 46, so he never truly was “old.” Wilde fully understood that life is not about money.

    Money is temporary; it comes and it goes. So life must be about more than money and what it can buy. Jesus challenged the people of His generation—rich and poor alike—to a recalibrated value system. In Luke 12:15, Jesus said, “Watch out! Be on your…

    Precious

    “My precious . . .” First portrayed in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, the image of the emaciated creature Gollum in his maniacal obsession with the “precious” “ring of power” has become an iconic one today—for greed, obsession, even insanity.

    It’s also a troublingly relatable image. In his tormented love-hate relationship with both the ring and with himself, Gollum’s voice echoes the hunger in our own hearts. Whether it’s directed at one thing in particular, or just a vague longing for “more,” we’re sure that once we finally get our own “precious,” we’ll be satisfied. But instead, what we thought would make…

    Out of the Trap

    The Venus flytrap was first discovered in a small area of sandy wetlands not far from our home in North Carolina. These plants are fascinating to watch because they are carnivorous.

    Venus flytraps release a sweet-smelling nectar into colorful traps that resemble open flowers. When an insect crawls inside, triggering sensors along the outer rim, the trap clamps shut in less than a second—capturing its victim. The trap then closes further and emits enzymes that consume its prey over time, giving the plant nutrients not provided by the sandy soil.

    God’s Word tells of another trap that can capture unexpectedly. The apostle…

    Be Still, My Soul!

    Picture a parent poised lovingly over a child, finger gently placed in front of nose and lips softly speaking the words—“hush,” “shhhh.” The demeanor and simple words are meant to comfort and quiet anxious little ones in the midst of disappointment, discomfort, or pain. Scenes like this are universal and timeless and most of us have been on the giving or receiving end of such loving expressions. When I ponder Psalm 131:2, this is the picture that comes to mind.

    The language and flow of this psalm suggest that the writer, David, had experienced something that provoked serious reflection. Have you…

    The Secret of Peace

    Grace is a very special lady. One word comes to mind when I think of her: peace. The quiet and restful expression on her face has seldom changed in the six months I have known her, even though her husband was diagnosed with a rare disease and then hospitalized.

    When I asked Grace the secret of her peace, she said, “It’s not a secret, it’s a person. It’s Jesus in me. There is no other way I can explain the quietness I feel in the midst of this storm.”

    The secret of peace is our relationship to Jesus Christ. He is our…

    The Best Portion of All

    “His piece is bigger than mine!”

    When I was a boy my brothers and I would sometimes bicker about the size of the piece of homemade pie mom served us. One day Dad observed our antics with a lifted eyebrow, and smiled at Mom as he lifted his plate: “Please just give me a piece as big as your heart.” My brothers and I watched in stunned silence as Mom laughed and offered him the largest portion of all.

    If we focus on others’ possessions, jealousy too often results. Yet God’s Word lifts our eyes to something of far greater worth than…

    Landing in the Pig Pen Instead of My Dream Job

    As I walked into the farm yard in my pink-striped wellies and oversized farm gear, I was hopeful that this job would only be for a couple of weeks.

    Living generously toward others

    You don’t have to be a millionaire to be rich in good deeds! In fact, God has a special assignment for those He has blessed. Today on Discover the Word, we explain how regardless of what we do or don’t have, we can be generous toward others! Listen today to Discover the Word!

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