The latest smartphone, the most popular brands, a bigger house, the latest fashion … we live in a society driven by the pursuit for more. While we might feel inundated with marketing messages in the modern world, consumerism isn’t a new phenomenon. Humans have always struggled with the desire for more, but the Bible is full of wisdom on how to nurture a content heart that finds true satisfaction in our creator God, not created things.  

1 Timothy 6:6-9 

‘But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.’ 

In this letter, Paul warns his young protégé, Timothy, about the pitfalls of wealth and seeing the Christian life as a way to gain riches. Instead, ‘great gain’ is found in contentment, and knowing that the possessions we acquire in this life cannot be taken into the next. 

Psalm 104:28 

‘All creatures look to you to give them their food at the proper time. When you give it to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are satisfied with good things.’ 

This Psalm praises God not just for his wonderful creation, but his complete care over all that he has made. The birds of the air and the beasts of the field teach us to be utterly dependent on our Father for our needs—to be satisfied with all the good things he provides. 

Philippians 4:12-13 

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. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.’ 

Throughout his life, Paul has experienced great hardships, often to the point where he needed aid from fellow Christians. Drawing from his experience of being in plenty and in need, he teaches us the secret of contentment: knowing that whatever happens, we can persevere through God who gives us strength. 

Hebrews 13:5-6 

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.”’  

The fear of not having enough is a powerful driver to seek more, but as God’s people, we need not fear. The writer of Hebrews reminds us that God was faithful to his people as they left Egypt and approached the Promise Land. God delivered on his promise to never leave them, so we can be content with what we have, knowing that God will sustain us also. 

Ecclesiastes 5:10-11 

 ‘Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless.’ 

In Ecclesiastes, an anonymous teacher ruminates about the fleeting nature of life under the sun, including the futility of chasing after wealth that ultimately leaves us unsatisfied. At the end of the book, he encourages us to enjoy simple pleasures while they last, and to obey God in anticipation of the day when he will bring about a better world. 

Matthew 6:19-20  

‘Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.’ 

Jesus teaches us that treasures on earth—whether possessions, property, or wealth—don’t last or offer certainty. Instead, he teaches us to store treasures in heaven. Living for his kingdom is a wiser ‘investment’ as you’re putting your hope in something that lasts for eternity. 

Proverbs 15:16-17 

‘Better a little with the fear of the Lord than great wealth with turmoil. Better a small serving of vegetables with love than a fattened calf with hatred.’ 

Contrary to what our consumerist culture says, being wealthy doesn’t guarantee a joyful or fulfilling life. According to the wisdom of Proverbs, it’s far better to honour God, live in peace, and nurture a household of love than to be caught in an endless pursuit for more. Contentment is its own reward. 

James 4:13-15 

‘Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money. “Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”’ 

While there is wisdom in thinking ahead, it can be tempting to relentlessly pursue wealth and prosperity with arrogance, assuming that we’re in control of all things. Instead, James urges us to acknowledge that God is the one who paves the path before us, and prayerfully trust him with our plans.