Godliness with Contentment is Great Gain
"But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world." (1 Timothy 6:6-7)
Our culture is a culture of more. Buy more things. Make more money to buy more things. Sign up for more activities. Be more relevant. Take up more hobbies. Be more connected. Work more hours. More. More. More.
In a society that screams, “Do more. Be more. Spend more,” is it any wonder why being content seems impossible?
Paul addresses where we find true contentment in 1 Timothy 6. In this post we are going to look at false contentment, true contentment, and the great gain that comes from true contentment.
Paul warns that there are some “who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain” (1 Timothy 6:5). There are some who are willing to even sell godliness if they can turn a buck.
This is characteristic of greediness not godliness. These people pursue wealth and riches no matter the cost. Their lust for money leads them to want more of it. Mammon is the god that they serve (Matthew 6:24). If forced to make a choice between making a profit and obeying the Bible, they would choose money over God.
When a person’s pursuit of riches becomes more important than God, then money (and the things bought with it) becomes his greatest treasure. His security is found in how much money he has. And his greatest fear is losing his wealth. He only has peace and contentment when his financial situation is good and he has all the gadgets he wants. Therefore, money and possessions becomes a false contentment.
Though many of us may not be as cruel and godless as these charlatans are in 1 Timothy 6:4-5, we too can fall into the trap of money. We are tempted to believe that money gains us comfort, security, and happiness. If we are not careful, we can turn money into an idol that we (subconsciously) worship instead of God. And we can find a false sense of contentment in our wealth.
How do we guard against the allure of pursuing riches over God? By practicing godliness with contentment (1 Timothy 6:6).
Contentment is living simply and being satisfied with what you have (and don’t have). Any person from any worldview can seek contentment. But godliness with contentment is different in the reason why the person is content. The genuine Christian who pursues godliness is content because they are fully satisfied in God (see Hebrews 13:5). God is their greatest treasure. God is their greatest source of comfort. God is their security, refuge, and strength. Who they are in Christ is where they find their contentment.
And so, because God fully satisfies the needs (both physical and spiritual) of believers, then this frees them be content with their material possessions and current financial situation. Their security is not affected by the size of their bank account nor the amount of stuff they own. These things don’t factor into their equation of being content. So if they lost their wealth or possessions, they would still be content because they still have God—their greatest treasure and their source of true contentment.
Godliness with Contentment is Great Gain
Paul says that “godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Timothy 6:6). Those that pursue godliness with contentment directly contrast those that pursue riches and possessions for their security. And so if godliness with contentment is great gain, then pursuing riches and possessions for your security must be a great loss. Why? “For [because] we brought nothing into this world and we cannot take anything out of the world” (v. 7).
All the material possessions acquired by great riches are only temporary pleasures. But they will all be counted as loss for they cannot be taken into the life to come.
Godliness with contentment, though, is great gain, because if you are satisfied with God then you will generously give what you have for the glory of God. Your money and possessions are not where you find contentment. So if you give them away, it is no loss to you. In fact, it is not a loss at all, but a gain of treasure in heaven (Luke 12:32-34, see Pastor Ryan’s excellent blog on that passage).
And that is great gain. When you are content in Christ, you are free to use whatever resources you have (your time, talents, and money) in order to spread the gospel for the glory of God. For even if you were to lose all your possessions, even your life, for the sake of Christ, you gain a great reward in heaven (Mark 8:34-38).
Find Contentment in God Your Greatest Treasure
Treasuring money above God may lead to physical wealth in this life, but it will also bring spiritual bankruptcy—both in this life and the next. It will lead to a false contentment based on how much money and stuff you have.
The better option is to pursue godliness with contentment. Delight yourself in God. Delight yourself in His Word, meditating on it day and night. Pray that God would remove idols from your life so that you would truly live in a way that treasures Him above all else. Be content with what you physically have knowing that you have everything you ever need (both physically and spiritually) in Christ. And in that God-centered, Christ-exalting, Holy Spirit-enabled contentment, give generously and joyfully for the sake of God and the gospel of Christ. In doing so, you will build up for yourselves treasure in heaven. For godliness with contentment is great gain.
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