Faith & Finance: Contentment

Have you thought about how the principle of contentment relates to your finances? Discontentment with what we have can easily lead to poor financial decisions.

Bigger houses, better wardrobes, the latest gadgets. Americans want them all. Perhaps the best example of this is the automobile. Statistics show that most cars are replaced every 3-5 years, far sooner than necessary. I personally fall into this statistic myself thanks to a growing family and changing needs.

We acquired my current vehicle, a used minivan, shortly before my son was born last year. Even with 80,000 miles under its belt, we knew it would last our family for years to come. But recently, the battery died and I was left stranded while my husband traveled. Twice. During those moments of panic, a ridiculous thought entered my mind.

Trade it in.

Part of me, the old, frivolous me, thought about the prospect of a shiny new van versus the hassle of car repairs. I mentally slapped myself back to reality and instead had the battery replaced. One hundred dollars later, my trusty (paid in full) van is running just fine.

With commercials, advertisements and dealerships encouraging that “easy” trade-in all around us, discontentment with what we drive is an easy trap to fall into.

Scripture reminds us that “godliness with contentment is great gain”. (1 Timothy 6:6). This is not always an easy concept to embrace in our culture. Believers must learn to filter out the messages we are bombarded with on a daily basis.

Hebrews 13:5 puts it succinctly: Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Join me as we further explore this topic here on the Faith & Finance series.

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About Alyssa Francis

A thirty-something wife and mother of four! Two daughters by birth, one son by marriage, and a sweet baby boy born in April of 2009. Oldest sister of four girls raised by a single mom. California native. Grew up in Hawaii. Somehow ended up in North Texas. Once a single mom. Former agnostic. A survivor of abuse and addiction. Forgiven by a great big God. Married to my best friend.


  1. Hi There,
    I’m starting up a teensy blog, mostly a collection of links to great coupon/savings type blogs (yours is one!). Anyway,none of the ‘deals’ appealed to me tonight.But your article was a breath of fresh air (needed it after my 12 hour shift!). Thanks for the encouragement.

  2. I’m with you on the automobile. When I see all the shiny new cars around me (we live in in affluent town), I am tempted to trade in my paid in full little car. Then I remember how freeing it is not to have a car payment and that we really can’t afford it right now. I would rather have this freedom than the shiny new car, :)

  3. Thank you for the article. We just spoke to someone regarding new windows. Wow, the price was sky high. Yes, my house is a bit drafty, but I can’t put us in debt without other bills being paid off. This is an item that will have to wait.

  4. This is something I struggle with frequently! I started couponing out of necessity and sometimes catch myself saying that if we just had X more dollars to get a new anything, we’d be fine. The truth is though, that we’re fine now. Every single time we come across a tough financial situation, it works out. I know that God is taking care of us, but its awfully hard to be faithful when I get that mid-winter heating bill! As far as vehicles go, we have been blessed beyond measure by the generosity of family and never had to purchase a car.

  5. Thank you SO much for writing this! I really needed to hear this today.
    Angela´s last blog post ..At the Hop Kindergarten Graduation

  6. Thanks for reminding me that contentment is something I control. When I look outside of God for provision, I feel needs. When I look to God, I feel peace. I am going to look at what I have now and thank God for it today!

  7. I know its early, but I need to keep these words in my heart at the holiday season approaches and I’m finding myself wanting all the good deals but not needing them. Thank you!

  8. Thanks for this post! God’s REALLY been working on this area of contentment in my heart. My husband is a pastor and I work at a crisis pregnancy center, so we don’t foresee a time of financial abundance anywhere in our future. We knew we would both be in ministry. My desire has never been for the nicest car, the nicest house (I’m content with the duplex we rent), etc, etc.
    However, God has been showing me that my desire to be comfortable, to not worry about money, to not stress over how many more months we have to pay off my student loan, to not worry that our cars with well over 200,000 miles will break down and we won’t be able to afford a replacement… these desires have produced a lack of contentment in my life.
    I praise God for very real examples of what NOT to do with money from family members that have led my husband and I to be very careful with how we spend our money. But my desire to be comfortable, to not worry about tomorrow will bring is not what God wants from me. He wants contentment in who He is and what He will do. The birds don’t worry, so why should I?

    Thanks for your posts. Great food for thought. God is using you more than you know!

  9. Alyssa Francis says:

    @Florence, Exactly. It is truly freeing to live without a car payment constantly hanging over your head! I must remember that freedom too.

  10. Alyssa Francis says:

    @Kelly, Never too early to start planning and budgeting for those Christmas purchases! :)

  11. Alyssa, thanks for posting this! I struggle so often to turn a deaf ear to what marketing tells me I must have or need. Marketers are REALLY good at what they do!

    However, our family is out of debt (praise God!!!), and I’d like for us to stay that way. So I just remember that our gear is paid in full, just like things aught to be. If Jesus could come, do His thing without owing anyone, and then pay off the largest of our bills for us, then surely we can live within our means as well!

    Thanks again,
    Gaby Swanson´s last blog post ..Underwear for Christmas!

  12. Thank you for this reminder. Our van is used. We bought it in June after I wrecked our family car. We wanted to pay cash only and had -planned- on trying to find something in December/January, so, needless to say, we didn’t have a great deal of money to deal with. BUT! We found a used Sienna, a van that, if money were no issue, I had long wanted to buy new.

    Anyway, it quit working last week and while I’ve been “stranded” at home, I have wondered a few times if we made the right choice in buying a used vehicle…. but this post is encouraging. It may not be convenient, but in the long run, the money we pay in repairs is still so much less than what we would pay month after month in car payments.
    Aimee´s last blog post ..Is this how God feels when we repent

  13. Sure funny how God does it ALL. I was searching craigslist for a minivan. Frustrated at our budget I took a break to check out some couponing blogs and low and behold I come upon yours.
    We are a single income family with 3 children squenched in the back seat of a ford focus. We are debt free besides the house and our budget for a used van is minimal.
    Thank you for the reminder! Last week I had handed it over to him. This week I’ve theived it back. God knows what’s best and from past experiences I have learned that if I step ahead of his plan I miss all the joy he had for me if I would have just waited on his timing insead of forcing mine.

  14. even paid in full cars can be shiny and clean. take a run through the cheapy car wash every couple of weeks and get a can of tire shine at the dollar store – it makes all things rubber, plastic, like your tires, your dash, the stepups on a van,… etc. look so shiny and it keeps them from drying out and cracking!

  15. I love this article. After having our minivan break down over and over and then finally our shop tells us they can’t find the problem and that it may be the computer, we were forced to trade it in and now have a car payment for a used vehicle. I can say that after being car payment free both my husband and I felt nausea when we signed the papers. Had we had an emergency fund we probably could have found something to buy straight out. Needless to say God showed us that the emergency fund is top priority! Thanks for so much great advice.


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