MiniZine: The Secret of Contentment (PDF Download)

  • 17 August 2010

“I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.” (Phil 4:11)

Paul’s words are starkly counter-cultural. We live in a society that’s constantly encouraging us to improve our situation at every turn—to seek wealthier wealth, healthier health and sexier sex. Contentment has almost become a synonym for settling for second-best, as the mantra ‘more’ becomes all pervasive.

However, the desire for more is very much the fruit of practical atheism. Christianity, in contrast, gives rise to true contentment because Christians already possess the most precious thing in the universe. Furthermore, having been blessed by God with such spiritual riches in Christ frees us to be generous to others with what he has given us.

This MiniZine will help you discover (or rediscover!) the secret of contentment, and will challenge you to a more radical way of living as you serve the Lord Jesus and the people around you.


  • The secret of contentment, by Tony Payne
  • Not keeping up with the Jonses: The Christian practice of becoming poorer, by Sandra King
  • Money and the Christian, by D Broughton Knox
  • Discussion guide


Few people would aim for ‘contentment’ as their goal in life. Indeed, in our world we’re continually told we should be discontent. Are you single? Get married. Are you married? It’s time you had kids. Are you working? Seek a promotion. Take an exotic holiday. Buy a house. Get a nicer car.

Indeed, western society engineers us for discontentment. Advertising, pop culture, our peers and even our families urge us to want more—want the best. For them, the secret to happiness is earning more so you can buy what you want. If you’re content, you’re not moving forward—not making the most of your potential.

However, as Tony Payne points out in our first article, this way of thinking is the fruit of practical atheism: “If this world is all that exists, and our own personal happiness within it is the best we can hope for, then we will always be looking to improve some aspect of our lifestyle to achieve the elusive happiness we desire”. In contrast, contentment is the fruit of Christianity because Christians already have the most precious thing in the universe. This is how Paul could say, “I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content” (Phil 4:11). Contentment is actually a godly virtue to aspire to, and the secret to its attainment lies in Christ.

Furthermore, as Sandra King argues in our second article, Christ is actually the motivation for a radical way of living: giving away your riches instead of holding onto them.

Finally, D Broughton Knox brings his wisdom to bear on how Christians ought to think about the thorny topic of money.

My hope and prayer is that, as you read about and think through this topic, you will rediscover and earnestly desire the secret of contentment, for through it comes great gain (1 Tim 6:6).

— Karen Beilharz

What is a MiniZine?
It's not a booklet, or a leaflet, or a tract. It's not a full-sized magazine either. It's somewhere in the middle: a short collection of articles, in an economical, easy-to-read format, with a discussion guide included.

The aim is simple: to provide high-quality Bible-based input to help Christians encourage each other.

MiniZines are ideal for giving away, for starting personal conversations, and for small group discussion.