But godliness with contentment is great gain. 1 Timothy 6:6 (NIV).
Contrast this with the admonition Paul shared in the previous 5 verses, especially verse 5. In those verses, Paul advises Timothy that we can be slaves to many things, but that we should respect our ‘masters’ while shying away from anything that causes controversy and strife. Including love of money.
We aren’t going to obsess about the so called nobility of poverty. If you’ve ever been financially poor, it doesn’t feel very noble. Yet there is a quality about not having something, about being in want, that is clarifying, constructive, even godly. You know it: contentment.
I’m going out on a limb and saying that we of the 21st century, and not just Americans, have a hard time with contentment. Go into any American town and you’ll find people who, when they get satisfied, quickly then get un-satisfied. Yet that’s the case in most other countries as well. We aren’t content with what we have. We want more, and ‘more’ can have many meanings. Money, possessions, status, jobs, relationships; you get the picture. It’s no stretch to say that we as the human race spend much of our lives discontented. We’re dissatisfied because we want more; sometimes we’re even in want, poor.
Paul tells us to hold the mirror in front of us and fix our eyes on Jesus. He has put His soul inside us to live through us and act through us whether we’re poor or rich, satisfied or dissatisfied, content or not. He asks us to be content with who we are, where we are, what we are given (and what we achieve) because He then wants us to live godly lives in service to Him. He asks us to use our talents for His work and let Him take care of the rest. Part of “the rest” includes how we feel about it. If we let Him take control, it doesn’t take long before we discover we’re content. And that’s when He really gets down to business. His work can take off when we realize we can be content with Him at all times because He’ll never leave or forsake us (see Hebrews 13).
Are you content? Do you feel unsatisfied with where you are or what you have or even who you are? Have you taken your thoughts and feelings about this to God? Rich or poor, achiever or still a work in progress, there is great value in being content with whoever you are and wherever God has you. You’re there for a reason: HIS reason. And that’s always something with which to be content and satisfied.
For further reading: Philippians 4:11, Hebrews 13:5, 1 Timothy 6:7.
Wonderful Lord, I confess I’m not always content. I lose my focus and take it off you. Thank You for a new day to re-focus on you, to realize contentment because of You, and I ask You to help me help others with the same.