Godliness with Contentment Is Great Gain
During a recent meditation on the pastoral epistles a verse jumped out on me in a new light.
But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment. (1 Tim 6:6)
I have contemplated this passage at different times throughout my short Christian life but never written my thoughts on this passage before. In the context of thinking how this passage relates to the overseer Paul’s words become clearer in their intent towards young Timothy.
In the passage before Paul makes it clear that some have used the pursuit of godliness in order to find some sort of material gain. Paul mentions that these people are “conceited and understand nothing” (v. 4). Paul wants Timothy to know that the continual pursuit and acquisition of godliness is only of gain when accompanied with contentment. When the pursuit of godliness is done for the end result of being more holy and useful for work in God’s kingdom and not for sordid gain then and only then will it be of any use to the pursuer. Paul desires Timothy to shun these worldly pursuits and reminds him that “we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either” (v. 7).
This passage speaks to me (and I assume all believers as well), because I live a life with so little contentment. I often pay lip service to the fact that God is my sufficiency and my only sustainer yet I run to the comfort of material goods as a reminder of comfort and success. It’s telling to me that if I desire to shepherd other believers I must uphold a principle and reality of contentment beyond what most believers employ. If my life is to be of good reputation with those inside and outside the church I cannot continue to desire and chase possessions and show my discontent.
I know that the salary and lifestyle I have now will be nowhere near the one that I might have as an overseer. Even though I might have far less money, the issue of contentment is a heart issue that I must face before endeavoring to lead others. May God give us all more contentment and pursuit of his holiness.