Devotional: Contentment

“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

3 thoughts on “Devotional: Contentment”

  1. Ariah, I’m enjoying this series…

    I think we can gain a lot from those words to Paul, that God’s grace is sufficient, and that weaknesses become strengths. It seems that nowadays we’re all just trying to be stronger. More successful, more wealthy, more powerful, in larger roles at work, in charge of more people, and then of course more stuff and entertainment…because it’s often through the latter that our peers see us as strong and successful. I’m all about working hard and trying to be successful, but might we take whatever success we have and actually use it for God? And I mean in a way that will leave us “poor” or “weak” in the eyes of the world.

    This doesn’t mean we intentionally throw away things that are going to help us grow in our careers or be more successful financially. I do think that the dichotomy of the world may be somewhat opposed to the calling of Christ…where weaknesses are made into strengths. What do you think?

  2. @Daniel: right on dude! I think you hit on a very good perspective of what all that, last shall be first, humble yourself, God chose the weak things, humility stuff in the New Testament. It seems so obvious when you just come out and say it, why do we have such a hard time actually living it out?

  3. why do we have such a hard time living it out? here’s what i think. 🙂

    because we’re taught to be winners. we’re taught (with good innocent intentions from loving parents and a rich country) to strive to be first, to be the best we can be…and then Christ comes along and says “I can use your weaknesses for the good of the Kingdom much more than I can use your strengths.” and we’re confused, because that doesn’t sound very smart to us. it sounds foolish, actually…why not make the Kingdom about winning, about being victorious and successful!? but then again, there’s this other passage in I Corinthians 1:

    For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written:
    “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”

    Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength. Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.”

    That doesn’t discount strengths…we all have talents, whether they are professions or public speaking or juggling. 🙂 but somehow, God needs to find people who are weak, humble, needy, and he will lift them up. he will lift them up on the back of his majestic…umm, donkey…and enable them to change the world. because at that moment, it will be about GOD’S Kingdom, not the one we made up.

    so if i’m going to be his follower…will I, can I look like every other rich successful citizen who’s made it in the world? or should I somehow, through my foolish generosity, look more like Jesus, riding through town on a donkey and hanging out with the ‘losers’?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.