I think it is important to consider this quote by Alfred Nobel, “Contentment is the only real wealth.” In Philippians 4:11-12, Paul speaks plainly about contentment, “I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret—whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need.” The secret, according to Paul, is recognizing God who is our provider (Matthew 6:33), sustainer (Psalm 55:22 / Hebrews 1:3), and giver of blessings (James 1:17). Paul says that he is “able” in all things because of the strength that God provides (Philippians 4:13).
In our country we just celebrated the holiday of Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, the Thanksgiving holiday has become associated with shopping—our day of giving thanks has been turned into sales, special deals, and gimmicks. In the face of our material culture we should be mindful of the power of contentment and also the importance of thankfulness. Zig Ziglar once said, “Being thankful is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express thankfulness for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to be thankful for.” All too often we become busy with holiday wish-lists. We focus on what we have and what we don’t have. The author of Ecclesiastes 5:10 wrote, “The one who loves money is never satisfied with money, and whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income.” But, when we stop and take time to be thankful, we find it easier to be content. Thankfulness leads to contentment and contentment is built on a foundation of being thankful. When you have a spirit of thankfulness, you will find that you are able to recognize more and more to be thankful for.
It is in recognizing that because God provides that we are able to “live and move and exist” (Acts 17:28). Only because of God. We do not even exist without Him. When we realize this, it becomes natural to be thankful. Not just once a year, but daily and in everything.