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Cultivating contentment

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 1 Timothy 6:6-12

After Paul warned Timothy about greed and selfishness, he now turned to remind him the value of contentment. Contentment is inner sufficiency that provides peace no matter what circumstances we are in. Paul was not advocating a Christian culture that requires poverty. He was drawing a definite line between possessions and true contentment. When we are content, we are satisfied with having the basic necessities of life (v. 8). Rather than being driven by a desire to accumulate material things, our greatest aim is to please God and hear him say, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant’ when we finally stand before him. Paul told Timothy to not be caught up with the aspirations of the false teachers. Their goal is “to get rich” where most men fall “into ruin and destruction.” It is “godliness with contentment is great gain.” Nothing we own will follow us into the next world. We end life as we started it—empty-handed. “For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.´ These desire for “material things” can be kept in balance, but it requires a constant assessment of our daily living and choices. Balance demands an objective understanding of our culture’s values and the ways money can entice us. If extreme care is not taken, the temptations that money can buy can entrap us into the values and pleasures which Satan touts. If overlooked this could lead to compromise and could lead to harmful desires. “But each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin” (James 1:14-15). Just as true gain is spiritual in nature, true ruin and destruction are spiritual as well. Our deepest joys and well-being are to be found in knowing God and His kingdom.


Noel De Guzman

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