“If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.”
– 1 Timothy 6:8
One of the greatest struggles for a Christian in the consumerist American culture that we are a part of is to be content. You are daily bombarded on all sides by hundreds of advertisements telling you that you need this product or that. Even within the church, Sunday mornings continue to perpetuate word-of-mouth advertising about the new outfit, restaurant or electronics purchase. Is it even possible to step back from that culture, that has been so ingrained in our minds since an early age, and look plainly at Scripture and attempt to follow it?
Paul, a wise follower of Christ, imparts these wise words to his young ‘son’ in the faith as he warns him of those who would use the faith and ‘godliness’ for financial gain. He warns against the pursuit of money with a clear alternative way of thinking: food and covering is enough. Contentment, something we know very little of in our culture, and yet it is what Christ calls us to. This same greek word is used in I Corinthians, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Certainly a believer in Christ’s saving grace would not respond by saying, “yes, it is sufficient, but I’d also like a little more grace here,” or “it wouldn’t hurt to get a couple of extra graces just to spruce up the place a little would it?” Christ’s grace is enough.
What would it look like for a church congregation to preach this verse and then endeavor to follow it? If you are reading these words and you have food and covering, what does your contentment look like? Here is Paul’s advice to you:
“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.” -I Tim 6:17-19