“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Job 1:21)
For most of my life, I have disliked restaurant buffets, mainly because I never feel that I am getting my money’s worth unless I eat a lot. My thought process caused me to either overindulge or feel wasteful. Even thinking of a buffet provoked my negative attitude. Fast forward about four decades—I am living in a senior community that has buffets every Sunday and on holidays, like Memorial Day. I love inviting guests to our Sunday buffet, and I have been forced to confront my issues if I want to enjoy our time together. Since I know ahead of time what will be offered, I choose several items that will be especially pleasing and settle for those, without needing to eat more to justify the price.
Confronting our negative thought processes, attitudes, and patterns is an excellent way to work through the issues hindering our contentment and godliness in stewardship. Job was content to have nothing when God allowed Satan to strip away his wealth, home, possessions, and even his family. “Then his wife said to him, ‘Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.’ But he said to her, ‘You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?’ In all this Job did not sin with his lips.” (Job 2:9-10) Job was not only “holding onto his integrity,” but had complete confidence in the Lord to give him what was needed for living. He had been a good steward, but for reasons he did not know, God took everything away from him and then allowed Satan to strike him with a serious illness. Job is a forerunner of Paul who wrote, “I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:12-13)
In her book, “The Envy of Eve,” Melissa Kruger writes, “There are two primary truths about God that relate to our view of money and possessions. The first is that God is our provider…The second relevant truth about God is that He, in Himself, is our greatest reward…He knows our true desires will only be met in relationship with Jesus. His presence in our lives, knowing Him as our greatest reward, gives us contentment in all things.” *
Some among us has been stripped of all our wealth and possessions by floods and storms. Others have also lost family in housefires or wildfires. Most of us, though, have never come close to Job’s experience and should feel rebuked and convicted by his relationship with God. God gave Job an opportunity to deal with his perceived righteousness as a good steward. In the end of the story, Job answered the Lord and said: ‘I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.” (Job 42:1-3)
Now God is giving us that same chance to confront that which hinders our contentment. Will you ask God to show you how, where, and when you can be a more content, wiser steward?
* The Envy of Eve, Finding Contentment in a Covetous World, Christian Focus Publications, 2012, pages 132-133.