It’s that time of year again, the season when holiday commercials dominate the airwaves. The message is always the same: “You need to buy more stuff so you will be happy” or “You need to buy someone else some stuff to make them happy.”

Contrast that message with what Paul writes in 1 Timothy 6:6–7: “Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.”

To put it another way, “great gain” is not found in gaining more, but in being content with what you have.

When we make accumulation of money and possessions life’s goal, we will never feel satisfied. It is like trying to quench your thirst with seawater. It only makes you thirsty for more.

A famous billionaire was asked, “How much is enough?” His answer? “Just a little more.”

There’s another downside to accumulating wealth. When we die, none of it comes with us. Living for stuff means living for the things that won’t last and will ultimately end up rotting in a landfill.

Pursuing money and stuff often distract us from the things that matter most. Instead of controlling our possessions, they start to control us by dominating our time, efforts, and energy. They may keep us from building relationships or being free to pursue God’s will for our lives, including sharing the gospel with others.

Contentment, on the other hand, is a powerful witness to others and a fundamental source of joy. True joy does not depend on how much you have. It flows from our relationship with God as we find our satisfaction in Him, not the pursuit of money or possessions.

When we are content, we model the Savior. Jesus owned little in terms of earthly possessions, but became one of the most influential people in history. He never preoccupied himself with the accumulation of stuff, but rather focused on loving and serving people. His contentment was a characteristic that drew people to Him.

This holiday and Christmas season, take time to thank the Lord for what you have, but don’t value the gifts over the giver because He is truly all you need. Then pray for opportunities to share Christ and point people to Him as the only source of lasting contentment. 

 (Note: This article originally appeared in EvanTell's 2017 online Winter issue of Toolbox. View our Toolbox archives!)