Toddlers never want to play with their own toy, they want the toy the other kid has. Teenagers commonly experience the tug to leave one group of friends for a clique they estimate to be cooler. Adults vote for politicians who promise that the wealth of the 1% should be redistributed to the middle class. The reason for all these examples is that there’s a greedy little Marxist in every unregenerate heart.
Discontentment has the profound ability to blind us to the blessings God graciously placed in our hands, while simultaneously making the blessings across the street appear in crystal-clear, HD quality. Rather than spilling over with gratitude for our wife, our wealth, our welfare, we covet our neighbor’s wife, his wealth, and his welfare. The reality is, discontentment will never, ever have enough. As soon as it gets one thing it has lusted after, it devours it, and then immediately is dissatisfied with it, and thus sets its sights on some new fettish to indulge its insatiable desires.
Godliness with contentment, as the Apostle Paul tells us, is great gain. It is a great gain because it enables us to see the ordinary as marvelous and undeserved blessings, bestowed on us by a loving Father. From the smallest gift of each breath, to the staggering providences such as unexpected financial provision, contentment lets us rejoice in the Giver of every underserved gift whether small or great. This godliness, mingled with contentment, turns us from looking at all the things God could have given us, or things we think He should have given us, and instead trusts that, as the hymn says, “all that I meet with shall work for my good.” In this way, bitter waters become sweet. Trials become triumphs. Even the things we lack become a reason to turn to God in prayer asking Him for our daily bread.