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Ask Dave

Where Does Contentment Come From?

Russell has want-itis. He wants everything. He's never happy. Dave says he has a whole lot of his net worth tied up in toys and needs to find some contentment.

QUESTION: Russell in Georgia has want-itis. He wants everything. He’s never happy. Dave says he has a whole lot of his net worth tied up in toys and needs to find some contentment.

ANSWER: You’ve got an awful lot tied up in toys, brother. I consider the properties toys because you’re not using them as an investment. You’re using them to play in. It’s a weekend home, so even though it’s a toy that’s going up in value, it’s a toy. I’ve got a very nice lake home, but it’s a toy, and it’s a small percentage of my overall net worth.

I think that’s your problem. You need to get a little higher percentage going to generosity and a lower percentage going to consumption. You’ve done very well. I’m not questioning your financial prowess. You’ve done a great job. You’re just telling me that you’ve got this insatiable desire for stuff.

You obviously are a great earner. You make a lot of money and have over your life, and you’ve managed the money well. You’ve earned the right to have some toys. I’m not against you having toys. I’m not one of those people. What you’re asking me about is where does contentment come from? The only place I’ve ever been able to accurately get my arms around contentment is it’s a spiritual exercise. That reminds me that God owns everything, and I’m managing it for Him. And He loves me, so He doesn’t mind me having a good toy or two. He’s not mad at me, and me having a nice toy doesn’t make my Dad mad. It makes some of my brothers and sisters mad because they’re flakes. It doesn’t make my Dad mad. I think you’ve got to get that balance and then just be asking yourself, God gave me responsibility of this money. Is this something that makes Him smile, or am I kind of going over the edge?

What you’re telling me is you kind of feel like you’re going over the edge on it. I think it’s a matter of prayer, spiritual discipline, and just be seeking contentment to go with your generosity. I do think your ratios are a little out of whack on this. That’s just my opinion.