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, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. for the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. it is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. [1 tim 6:6-10]
we are all living for great gain. we all have a desire for good things, for satisfaction in pleasure, for fulfillment in something we are initially without. i think the question rising from this passage is, what is gain? where will we seek for it? what will satisfy?
there are so many things in this fallen world that scream at us from all sides, promising satisfaction. money, houses, neighborhoods, lawns, cars, jobs, safety, financial safety in retirement accounts, relaxation, health, sex, fashion, being desired, american rights, women’s rights, christian rights, companionship, parenthood, marriage, adventure, the list could go on for miles. maybe you find a lot of satisfaction in several of these things. but the truth is, every single one of these pleasures is merely a faint echo of the pleasure of the glorious presence of God. sweet communion with the One who made us for himself. we know this. we’ve been reading about it for so long. so why are we still seeking satisfaction in and striving for his gifts but not God himself? sometimes even in the sin he hates? could it be that we aren’t seeing enough of his glory? don’t know enough of his character to taste its sweetness? believer, this is the way of the world!
in their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. [2 corinthians 4:4]
as followers of Christ, we are called to a different gain than that of the world. godliness, food, and clothing. how many of us could claim to be content with these things? paul is saying that contentment in Christ alone will lead to a discontentment in promoting self glorification through riches and fleeting earthly pleasures. why then, can the world often look at the church, and think they’re looking in the mirror? the end of that tale is ruin and destruction, according to the warning of this passage. i see so much in my own heart that needs to be rooted out when taking inventory of the pleasures of my life. any gift that doesn’t lead to worship of the Giver either needs to be cut out of my life, or redeemed in a radical way for his glory.
so we return to the challenge paul presents again and again…what would God have us lay down, to then fill us with contentment in himself as our greatest treasure?
i do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. and he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. [ephesians 1:16-23]