“He who dies with the most toys wins.” This popular saying, which appeared on bumper stickers and t-shirts in the 1980’s, was attributed to the flamboyant American entrepreneur, Malcolm Forbes. Although there is some debate as to whether or not Forbes actually did utter those words with his mouth, his extravagant lifestyle certainly said them many times over. Forbes was know for spending a fortune on parties, travel, homes, yachts, motorcycles, and many other “toys.” Forbes died in 1990, but his “toys” lived on. Did he win? What did he gain through all of those earthly things?
God’s Word tells us that we will take out of this world exactly what we brought into it – nothing (1 Timothy 6:7). We are also told that “godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Timothy 6:6, KJV). Godliness is a respect for God that is shown in the way that we live our lives. But what exactly is contentment? What does it mean to be content? Basically, being content means that our desires are in line with our lot in life. We are happy with what we have, even if that is just food and clothing (1 Timothy 6:8).
The apostle Paul knew both times of abundance and time of need. He knew what it was like to be hungry, and to have more than enough food to eat. But Paul was content in whatever circumstances he found himself. He knew that, in spite of his circumstances, whether in times of plenty or times of need, there was nothing that he could not do because of the Lord, who he knew would give him strength (Philippians 4:11-13).
Perhaps the best reason provided in Scripture for us to be content with what we have comes in the letter to the Hebrews, which says, “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee (Hebrews 13:5, KJV).” No matter how much or how little we have, God’s promise is that He will always be there. He will never leave us and He will never forsake us. And that is a great reason to seek true contentment in what we have.
Possessing great wealth and many “toys” does not make us winners when we die. But having God in our lives does. To paraphrase that saying from the 1980’s, “He who dies with the most God wins.”