One of the idols that has plagued humankind is the idol of materialism and money. It is very easy for our security and identity to be tied to our possessions and money. In the Gospels this reality is seen in the encounter Jesus had with the Rich Young Ruler. This young man walked away from Jesus because he could not let go of his wealth. It is difficult to give up what we have come to believe defines us.
One of the ways we can prevent the idol of materialism from gaining control in our hearts is to live a life of gratitude. Joshua Becker offers a few simple ideas on how we can live with more gratitude.
“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.” – Cicero
It is discontent that opens up our heart to many of the unhealthy habits in our lives.
Materialism is, after all, the natural behavior born out of discontent with the possessions that we own. We live in a society that breeds discontent by defining the American Dream as owning bigger homes, nicer cars, and fuller closets. Advertisers foster this sense of dissatisfaction by promising greater happiness with their products. And too often, we foolishly fall into their trap without realizing it.
But there are other unhealthy habits in our lives born out of discontent. For example, dishonesty is born out of discontent with the truth. Greed is born out of discontent with our current supply. Substance abuse is born out of displeasure with the current state of our lives. Even many of the feuds in our families are born out of discontent with our closest relationships.
If discontent is the cause of many of our unhealthy habits, contentment is the cure.