John Piper recently wrote about Paul’s usage of the word ploutos which is translated “riches.” Here are some examples:
- The riches of God’s kindness and forbearance and patience. (Romans 2:4)
- The riches of God’s glory for vessels of mercy. (Romans 9:23)
- The riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! (Romans 11:33)
- The riches of God’s grace. (Ephesians 1:7)
- The riches of God’s glorious inheritance in the saints. (Ephesians 1:18)
- The immeasurable riches of God’s grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:7)
- The unsearchable riches of Christ. (Ephesians 3:8)
- The riches of God’s glory. (Ephesians 3:16)
- God’s riches in glory in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)
- The riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. (Colossians 1:27)
- The riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ. (Colossians 2:2)
In light of this list, it makes you realize that the fuel behind Paul’s exhortation to contentment (Philippians 4:10-13) wasn’t about settling for less. That’s typically how we think of contentment though – it’s about knowing that you might have more, and yet you train yourself to be satisfied with less.
At least, not so in terms of the gospel.
The fuel for contentment isn’t settling for less; it’s realizing how much you already have in Christ. Paul looked deeply into the grace of God at the cross, and He saw treasure. Value. Insurmountable riches. Such incredible wealth that it made everything else seem like rubbish in comparison.
Contentment, then, isn’t fueled by willing yourself to settle for less. It’s fueled by remembering, over and over again, the great riches of what we have been given in Christ.