One night before going to sleep, I was lying in bed and it hit me – this bed is really soft! After three years of sleeping on the same mattress, it finally dawned on me that our bed was soft. Call me a slow learner, but I think there are a lot of things we take for granted. We take for granted the fact that most of us have no worries about food and shelter. I seriously can’t think of a time where I went without food or shelter. Most of us have never had to worry about basic needs such as food, shelter, and clothing and this sets us apart from millions of people in the world today.
The apostle Paul writes, “But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation.” (1 Timothy 6:6-9)
Allow me to set this up a little differently.
But godliness with contentment is great gain.
But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.
But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation.
Paul wants to change our thinking and help us to see the value of true contentment. Paul wants us to see that when you have Christ in your life, you don’t need a whole lot of “stuff” to make you happy. Paul wants us to see that there is a danger in being consumed with a thirst for riches. In other words, Paul is warning us against having a “worldly” mindset. The world constantly tells us that we need to acquire more and more possessions. But if we have our basic needs met, Paul says we can be content. If you are you anything like me, you already have above and beyond your basic needs. Even if we don’t enjoy a comfortable North American lifestyle, we can still be content as Christians. The very fact that we are “in Christ” means we have everything we could ever need.
Jesus said, “Do not lay not up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth up and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do break in and steal.” (Matthew 6:19-20) This complements what we already learned from Paul – we brought nothing into the world and we will take nothing out of the world. The application is as follows. Be content with what God has already given you. Set your mind on heaven and not on earth. To add to that, we must realize that in knowing Christ, we are infinitely blessed. By His grace and mercy, the God of the universe has revealed himself through Jesus Christ! In Christ we have been forgiven of our sin, reconciled to God, and now our hearts are filled with peace, joy, and love. How could we not be content?
Christian, you are blessed beyond compare. The trick is now to realize it.