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Be content with what you have

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Story of Jim and Tom

Jim and Tom were believers of the same church. Jim was a wealthy man. He had many business ventures. He was the backbone of the local church. He was there for donations. He was there in the church committee. He actively participated in every church services and activities. Whether it was weekly or Sunday service, he was there. He was there to teach Sunday school students. Donated generously for the church fund.

At the same time, Tom was a worker who earned his daily wages from working for different people. He attended Church every Sunday only. But lead a good life.

When both of them died one day. Gabriel was advised by the God to take Tom to heaven and Jim to hell. Gabriel was puzzled at the instruction and went to God to clarify the matter.

Gabriel said to God, why have you sent Jim to hell. He was a good Christian. He gave tithe regularly. He attended all the church service. He helped many. He was the cornerstone of that small church. There is no point in sending him to hell. On the other hand, Tom was attending church once a week. He was not so active like Jim. Still, you send Tom to heaven and Jim to hell. What prompt you to do like this.

Then God replied to Gabriel that Jim was good in all other areas but he lacks one important quality. He never satisfied by the things given to him. I gave him a good business. I gave him a good wife. I gave him good children. I gave him a good house. Nice car. Whatever he needed, I gave him. But he never satisfied with all that good blessings. Whenever he attended the church he was asking for more blessings. While praying he was complaining about his this business or that business. He was asking for more business. Better Car and Better home etc. He neither satisfied nor give thanks for all the things I have given in his life even though he was having the best things in his life. He was greedy and asking for more blessings. Never satisfied. Never content with what was given to him.

On the other hand, Tom was always satisfied with the things given to him. Whenever he came to church he worshiped me truly. He gave thanks to me for the thing I gave in his life. He prayed these words. "thank you Lord for all the blessings and take care of me". He had a good heart even though I refused to bless him with material things he loves me and thanked me for all the blessings.

I don't want someone who is not satisfied in heaven. He would make it a hell.

Socialism Failed

We are living in a material world where our money, status, possessions etc will determine our value in society. When we look at the world, there is enough food for all of us to eat. But the thing is that Some people hoarding food grains and keep it for themselves for the coming days. Rich people amass property and keep it for themselves. Not allowing others who are in need to cultivate it. That is why some people enjoy wealth, health and possession on the other side some are starving. Some people have many facilities and others have not. How can we come out of this problem?

Socialists tried to create a society where there is economic equality. If we look at it, it was a good idea. Economical equality for everyone in society. Socialists generally have a view that capitalism concentrates power and wealth among a small segment of society that controls the wealth and amasses its wealth through a system of exploitation. This will create a society where there are no equal opportunities for everyone to maximize their potential by using resources and technology. I don't know where socialism failed. Why it is not getting enough supporters for such a good idea.

Control your Desire and avoid Anxiety

When we look at the Bible, Hebrew 13: 5 says "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."

"Be content with what you have." the phrase reminds me of the old saying "Necessity is the mother of all inventions." If we don't have the desire to fly, I am sure we will never have airplanes. We don't have wings. We live in the land. So why we need to fly? We can live in this world without airplanes. For moving from one place to other, we could walk or run. So why we need to invent the airplane? If we were content with what we had, we would have not been enjoying the good things that we have today.

At this point of view, there is no sense in saying "Be content with what you have" Human being cannot live a life without ambitions. That is what drives us forward. The hope of better days! We all have ambitions. We all have needs. We need food, we need a good house, a nice car, a beautiful spouse, good and cute children, bank balance, income source (so that we won't be working, just enjoying the life), good vacations. the list goes on.....

So, what is the meaning of "be content with what you have." I think there is a purpose of the saying "be content with what you have."

The purpose is that to prevent anxiety. We may be worrying about tomorrow. What we will eat or what we will wear or where we will stay. Looking at the friends and relatives, we may feel that we don't have the such and such thing that they possess. So we may get troubled by anxiety or depression.

I would like to explain it with an example. Ambition to get a new car is good. A deep desire for that car is necessary to get the car. But how we are going to get it. A deep desire is needed but only with that desire, we would not be able to get the car. Desire will lead us to look for the resources. Or it will make us ask ourselves: 'how can I afford that car?' If you have enough money to buy it, you can buy it. If you don't have enough money, look for sources to get that money. It may be extra work or replacing other possessions. If you can't afford it, then it is better to be content with what you have.

Another option for getting that money is to get a loan from a financial institution. It means you are buying worries forever. If you can pay the loan installments, that is good. But the thing is that we cannot depend on our job or rent of the property as we may loose or job or you won't be able to get the rent of your property due to some incidents beyond our control. So it is better to not going for a loan and be content with what you have.

If you go to a shopping complex, you will be attracted to many branded things which are displayed at the windows of the shops. To lead a content life, you need to ask yourself whether this item is truly required or not, before making a purchase. You need to go back to your home and look at your closet how many shirts you have before you buy a shirt. You will find there is more than enough shirts are there in your closet. Then you can avoid that spending.

The best thing you can do to be content with what you have is avoiding going shopping when it is not necessary. Spend that time by doing some meaningful work. When you go shopping, make a list you want to buy and stick to that list. You will see many things in the shop which will attract you. If you are going for buying bread, just buy bread, not that magazine that displayed at the shop. If you feel that you need to buy new clothes, go back to your closet and look at how many are there. When you see the clothes you already have will reduce the want of buying new clothes.

So be content with what you have does not mean that you live a rotten life and no desire for a change or good living standard. It means you need to control your desire and avoid anxiety.

Why we need to be content with what we have?

Yearning exceeds earning is the root of the current economic problem of the world. People Yearn for many things. Yearning for a better house, yearning for a better car, yearning for a better girlfriend/boyfriend, yearning for a good parent, yearning for new Ipad2, yearning for a new computer, yearning for a new TV., yearning for a better neighborhood, yearning for a fatty bank balance, yearning for an early retirement. Everyone has an endless list of their desire.

We buy good houses and tv and other luxury things with borrowed money and we don't have time to enjoy those things. We buy a good house but we don't have time to enjoy it. We work overtime to pay for it. If that is the situation, then what is the use of buying a new house. In the first half our life we abuse our body and lose our health in order to earn a lot of money. In the second part, we spend all our money to regain our health. That is also foolishness. Now let us look at the most wealthy man ever lived on this earth. Bible says he was the richest, wisest man ever lived on this earth. He enjoyed everything his hands could get. Yet he says (Ecclesiastes 6:9) "Better what the eye sees than the roving of the appetite. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind." and again he says Proverbs 23:4 "Do not wear yourself out to get rich;" We do whatever we could do to get rich. Do not lose your money on getting rich quick scams. Do not overwork and lose your health.

There are many good financial principles mentioned by King Solomon in the Bible. Solomon explains another important truth in this verse (Ecclesiastes 5:11) As goods increase, so do those who consume them. And what benefit are they to the owners except to feast their eyes on them? Very true! When we buy a new big house, we have to employ people to keep it in good condition. If you buy a new expensive car, you have to maintain it. You have to spend a lot of money to maintain your yacht. You are not going to live on it forever. Occasionally you'll use it. But you have to maintain it, pay rent and taxes for keeping it safe. Your friends and relatives also use it. What is the benefit of having a yacht?

You can, at the same time, borrow a yacht for your recreation. Pay only rent. You do not have to worry about its maintenance or other issues like where to keep, how to maintain it and other related problems.

Another thing we need to notice about getting rich is that it will robe our sleep. Solomon says (Ecclesiastes 5:12) The sleep of a laborer is sweet, whether they eat little or much, but as for the rich, their abundance permits them no sleep. Trying to get rich will make us tired. Then we spend a lot of money and our expenses will increase. And the result of tiredness and expenses is Anxiety. We would be thinking about how to do this and that every time and it will robe our sleep. For the rich, their abundance permits them no sleep. In what a strange situation we end up. Because of not having enough money.

It doesn't mean that you have to leave all your desires for a peaceful, content life and become a Buddhist. Buddha says keep away from all desires as the reason for our pain and suffering is our desires. When you reach the highest state of enlightenment, a state of nothingness (it is called Nirvana in Sanskrit) you wouldn't have any more desire or want. Keep away from everything. For that, you need to go through the eightfold path i.e, right effort, right understanding, right speech, right action, right thought, right livelihood, right concentration and the right mindfulness.

But God does not make us live in nothingness. God created variety for the joy of human being. God created colors, mountains, valleys. Beautiful birds and animals. Sun and moon. Sunset and sunrise. Rain and rainbows. Wind and storms. Streams, rivers and oceans, Day, night. Happiness and sorrowfulness. Pain and pleasures. War and Peace. Everything is there to be enjoyed and experienced by us. But we need to control our desire. Uncontrolled desires can lead us into trouble. That is why God add a special command to the 10 commandments. Exodus 20:17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

Our desires well up in our heart when we see a good thing in our neighbor's house. When we see that our neighbor bought a new car, we desire a better than that one. We want to boost our ego by saying "I am this and I am that. I have this and I have that". That is what our ego wants to tell others. When we see our neighbor's wife we want her. When we see the furniture, we want that. When we see a good house, we want that. We need to learn to enjoy things without acquiring it. We need to learn to admire things without acquiring it. We are leading a "when and then" life. When I get a good boyfriend, then I will be happy. When I get a good house, then I will be happy. When I get a good wife, then I will be happy. We need to learn to be content with what we have.

The desire of acquiring things will not give us lasting joy. It gives joy for a short period. When you buy a new car, you will be happy. You love the smell of the new car. And say wow! You enjoy driving it. You like the color of the car. But it will not be new forever. Few days after, it will become an old car. You spend thousands of your money to buy it. It doesn't matter how much you spent on it. It is an old car after 6 months or after 1 year. Then you yearn for a new car. Materialism will not give you lasting joy.

We try to compare ourselves with our neighbors and friends. Stop comparing ourselves with others. God created each one of us as a unique person. Then why we should compare ourselves with others. We are entirely different from others. Our actions, our thoughts, our ability, our skill our intelligence, our desires, our appearance, our height, weight and thickness all are different. Then why we need to compare ourselves with others. Our situation and our ability and our joy are different from others. It is foolishness to compare ourselves with others. Stop being stupid. Stop comparing. When you stop comparing, you will be content. Learn to be satisfied in your situation.

We need to learn how to be content. We can find pleasure in our wife. When you compare your wife with other's wife when you yearn for other's wife, how can you find joy or pleasure in your own wife? When you compare your kids with other kids, how can you be content with your own kids? First lover your wife and kids. Spend time with them by playing games or watching your old tv. Be content with what you have. Find pleasure and joy in thing around you. Remove "When I go to Alaska, then I will be happy" thoughts. Spend some time with your kids in your backyard. That is pleasure and joy. If you can do that, then you will be content. In your home, in your village, in your town, you can find many places to spend time with. Learn to be content with your surroundings.

There is an interesting thing we need to notice in the old testament. When God provided Manna to the Israelites, Moses instructed them that everyone is to gather as much as they need. Take an omer for each person you have in your tent.’ The Israelites did as they were told; some gathered much, some little. And when they measured it by the omer, the one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little. Everyone had gathered just as much as they needed.

Then Moses said to them, “No one is to keep any of it until morning.” However, some of them paid no attention to Moses; they kept part of it until morning, but it was full of maggots and began to smell. So Moses was angry with them.

Each morning everyone gathered as much as they needed, and when the sun grew hot, it melted away. On the sixth day, they gathered twice as much—two omers for each person—and the leaders of the community came and reported this to Moses. He said to them, “This is what the LORD commanded: ‘Tomorrow is to be a day of sabbath rest, a holy sabbath to the LORD. So bake what you want to bake and boil what you want to boil. Save whatever is left and keep it until morning.’”

So they saved it until morning, as Moses commanded, and it did not stink or get maggots in it. “Eat it today,” Moses said, “because today is a sabbath to the LORD. You will not find any of it on the ground today. Six days you are to gather it, but on the seventh day, the Sabbath, there will not be any.”

Nevertheless, some of the people went out on the seventh day to gather it, but they found none.

From the above, we can understand human nature and God's provision for us. We want to hoard things and money. But God is trying to tell us each day I will give you what you need on that day. For the Sabbath, I will give you on the previous day.

We work all day in a week. Too much work and too much hoarding is also sin towards the God and men. Jesus teaches us to pray, "Give us each day our daily bread" Not for a weekly, monthly or yearly supply. But daily bread. Would you be able to content with your daily bread?

It doesn't mean that you should not save for the future. You need to save for your retirement. Solomon says (Proverbs 6:6) Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. We need to be wise enough to store food in the summer for the coming winter.

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Jacob (author) from Delhi, India on November 23, 2018:

Thanks for visiting the hub,

There are people out there, who are content with what they have, at the same time we find the majority is not content with what they have. As a hubber, I have to address the need of both these groups. Another truth is that the more you have, the more you will be content with.


GreenMind Guides from USA on November 21, 2018:

This is lovely. It's hard to believe that it was written by the same person who wrote another article about the goal of making one million dollars in a year. That article was all about not being satisfied with what you have, and focusing 100% on gaining material wealth. In which direction do you think we should go?

Jo Alexis-Hagues from Lincolnshire, U.K on May 02, 2012:

I can see you wrote this a while back, but it is still so relevant.

In our current economic situation we have to learn to live within our means and be contented.

When we make life a rat race we're so busy trying to keep up with the Jones we forget what happiness really means. good hub voted up

vara on April 23, 2012:

thanks a lot, nice one

Matt on September 30, 2011:

Scroll to Continue

People are saved or lost based on their relationship with Jesus Christ and not according to how satisfied they are. Other than that, very insightful post. Paul is the perfect example of someone who found contentment in a tough life.

Phil 4:1-2

"I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want."

Jacob (author) from Delhi, India on November 30, 2010:

Thanks Wbisbill for your kind visit and comment.

Wbisbill from Tennessee USA on November 27, 2010:

Well put. Opening eyes to a great Biblical truth!

vm on October 20, 2010:


Jacob (author) from Delhi, India on August 03, 2010:

Thanks Joy56

for your kind visit and positive feedback.


Joy56 on August 03, 2010:

He who is content with little has everything. Well done, great hub

Jacob (author) from Delhi, India on July 27, 2010:

Thanks Girish for your kind visit and positive comment

Girish1000 from India on July 26, 2010:

wow very nice hub ,you did write truth .i enjoyed reading your thoughtful hub.

Jacob (author) from Delhi, India on July 25, 2010:

Thanks Nick071468,

Thanks for you kind visit and positive feedback

Also many thanks for visiting by blogs at

nick071438 from City of Catbalogan, W, Samar, Philippines on July 24, 2010:

I've clicked vote up and useful this hub because I found it truly useful, especially when it comes to buying things haphazardly without giving a thought whether a thing is urgently necessary or not. This boils down to unnecessary spending. Another thing, keeping up with the "Joneses" is a disease that mostly inflicts the womenfolk who goes on spending spree just to impress. How I wish women to be frugal with money! Coming to Stories Circulated Through E-mail, I found no Comment Capsule in there so allow me to say that "What will you do 7 years from now" is a gem to inspire people who have no or wavering visions or ambitions in life. Like a seed, I'll sow and let it bear fruits for everybody to share. Laurels for you, Jacobkuttyta.

Dr irum on June 18, 2010:

wow very nice hub ,you did write truth .i enjoyed reading your thoughtful hub.

Jacob (author) from Delhi, India on May 16, 2010:

Thanks Suny51 for your vist and comment

Thank you very much

suny51 on May 15, 2010:

Thats where the whole problem is rooted,unplanned expenditure and thats where the every thing gets mixed-up,what to talk of common man even our governmental system has adopted to this policy by default and they have allocated budgets under "non planed" category and wasting public funds,you have nice and practical ideas on the subject.

Jacob (author) from Delhi, India on May 14, 2010:

Thanks Nell Rose for your visit and comment

Nell Rose from England on May 14, 2010:

Hi, this was really interesting, and you have some very valid points. thanks nell

Jacob (author) from Delhi, India on May 13, 2010:

Thanks Peggy for your visit and comment.

You said it correctly. We cannot take anything from this life into the next one.

Thanks for the reminder.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on May 12, 2010:

Sharing with others gives much greater joy than simply acquiring things for oneself. Once basic needs are met, we should all share more of what we have with the less fortunate. As one person already said...we cannot take anything from this life into the next one. Good hub.

Jacob (author) from Delhi, India on May 11, 2010:

Thanks Mdlawyer for your visit and comment

Thanks a lot

mdlawyer on May 06, 2010:

Your hub is a pointer towards the material possessiveness of the present day human conscience and it allows no peace of mind for him. The biblical reminder is a great assurance for a peaceful mindset.

Jacob (author) from Delhi, India on April 29, 2010:

Thanks tfhodge for your visit and comment

tfhodge from California - U.S.A. on April 29, 2010:

Great Hub! This material world was and is created from divine inspiration, yet the error in judgment occurs once materialism is worshiped instead of appreciated.

Jacob (author) from Delhi, India on April 27, 2010:

Thanks Mts1098 for your insightful comment

Wish you all the best

mtsi1098 on April 27, 2010:

I think the statement is and should be foundation for many people...People always miss items they have lost or want something they do not have but it is difficult to appreciate what you have...thanks

Jacob (author) from Delhi, India on April 17, 2010:

Thanks Mr. Roychoudhury for your insightful comment.

Thanks for your visit.

H P Roychoudhury from Guwahati, India on April 17, 2010:

“Be content with what you have” is an ideal phrase no doubt but it diminishes the progressive tendency of an individual. Rather will it not be good to follow the sayings of “Gita” the Holy Book of Hinduism. Work and work without looking behind for fruits. Krishna said to Arjuna, you are a Khatriya, a son of worrier family, your duty is to fight and not to go back seeing own brothers in front of battle field.

Jacob (author) from Delhi, India on April 16, 2010:

Thanks all for your visit and comments

valeriebelew from Metro Atlanta, GA, USA on April 16, 2010:

Very insightful; however, you solved the problem in the first paragraph. The problem is that we judge a person's worth according to what they have. It is not the material things that people really want; it is the respect and status that they bring. Extreme capitalism is as much a problem as socialism or any other idea taken to extremes, and it does create a society in which a small group have all of the benefits. It needs to be regulated and controlled, and at times socialistic policies are needed, even in a capitalistic system. Good hub. it also addresses self discipline. Lots of thought in this one hub. It seems that some of your readers did not finish reading the hub, and assumed you were supporting socialism 100%. That is not what I read. They should have finished the hub, or concentrated better before they responded. Thanks for the hub.

"Quill" on April 16, 2010:

Great Hub...we collect stuff, hoarders really as we pass through life, stuff is important and yet I like to look at stuff as a gift that I can pass along to others in need.

I like to collect old computers and bless others who may need one, have someone coming over in a few days that will take one home as they are in need.

I worked for one of the wealthiest families n=in Canada and watched the material things that were collected in an attempt to fill the void. You will never see a Hearse pulling a U Haul, it can't come with us so share the wealth and the blessings that you have been given.

Blessing on a Great Hub

drbj and sherry from south Florida on April 16, 2010:

Jacob - you write that socialism - economic equality for everyone - seems to be a good idea. To date it has never worked for any society who tried to implement it. Because you can't legislate equality anymore than you can legislate non-prejudice.

We can educate people but we can't control how they think - yet.

rprcarz50 on April 16, 2010:

Amen to this Hub. If we can instill this in the coming generations what a better place the world would be.

Thank you for this Hub


As Always Also a2z50

sweetie1 from India on April 16, 2010:

U got lots of valid point but for me all the development in this world has been done by those who were not content. Suppose Thomas elva addison got content after inventing one or two things and earning enough to last life time..would we have so many things he invented. So for me Greed can sometimes be very good. If you are content with what you have then you stop growing and would take life easy.

RevLady from Lantana, Florida on April 16, 2010:

Great hub jacobkuttyta that reveals a great truth.

For me, the material world has no meaning except as God bless me with those things needed to exist and to be of help to others. My world in spiritual. He sets my standard of living according to His will and purpose for my life. All glory to His name.

Love and peace,

Forever His,

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