For years I’ve said that “financial freedom” should be our goal. I published a pamphlet called the “Keys to Financial Freedom.” I’ve written articles on how to experience financial freedom. In summary, I’ve taught that the pinnacle of doing well financially, giving cheerfully, managing debt, and so on is financial freedom.
My thought process was this: If a person is not a “slave to the lender” but has the right view of money and recognizes that God owns it all, then he is free. He isn’t caught up in the bondage of materialism. I don’t believe any of this teaching was wrong. But I believe the Lord has been showing me that contentment is the ultimate aim and result.
Many people misunderstand the idea of financial freedom. They see it as meaning financial independence, applying it to people who have built up enough assets or income stream to work when they want, vacation where they want, and buy what they want. I’ve observed, however, that a person can be financially independent without being content. Conversely, a person can be content without being financially independent.
Besides avoiding the potential confusion between financial freedom and financial independence, I prefer focusing on contentment because that is the word the Bible uses. Here are a few notable examples:
But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought
nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.
But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.
(1 Timothy 6:6-8)
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with
what you have, because God has said,
“Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)