Summary: This two part sermon deals with finding real contentment in our Lord and Savior when we are surrounded by distractions, stress and trouble.
Are you content?
How many of you love your job? By that I mean, you love the boss you work for, you love the pay you get, you love the commute, the hours, the working conditions, the co-workers you associate with. How many of you love your job?
How many of you love your occupation? I mean, you love the activity you immerse yourself into and the results that come from your efforts?
Living a Godly life is a lot like your job. Life comes with a lot of ups and downs, but living your life for God brings great reward and satisfaction if you realize it.
The sad thing is that a lot of Christians are like Eyore. You know who Eyore is – the sad, pathetic, negative donkey in Winnie the Pooh stories. Some Christians are like Eyore – no matter what is going on around them, they find something negative about it. God provides them with greener pastures and all they can focus on is how much grass there is to mow.
Referring to our text, Paul makes a simple statement to Timothy with profound life lessons that we would miss if not careful to digest its full meaning.
1 Tim 6:6 –“…Godliness with contentment is great gain.”
In those few words, Paul is not pointing us to obtain contentment as if it were something you can possess as a thing or an object, but rather urging us to obtain godliness with contentment. I think it is easy for us to look at this verse and think to ourselves, “Yes! Contentment! That’s what I want! How do I get it?” I would say to you this morning that you already have it. It is within your emotional capacity to be content or not. You choose to be content or not. What we should be striving for is Godliness.
Therein lies the problem. Some people don’t look on godliness as a lifestyle that bodes contentment, rather they see it as a drudgery of life absent of fun, possessions, popularity, etc.
The Christian life is a life of denial. Denial is not a river in Egypt. Jesus taught us to deny ourselves, pick up the cross and follow Him. Why? Because we are a self-centered people. We are more concerned about ourselves than we are about the things of God. Too many of us are after what we can possess. "The one with the most toys wins."
In context, we see Paul referring to our longing for riches above all else. There is a danger in yearning for money and riches. Elevating that goal and purpose above yearning for God and His righteousness ultimately brings us unhappiness. It brings us unhappiness because it is temporal and not eternal, (vs. 9&10).
It is not that having possessions is an evil thing. In fact, scripture is full of examples of God’s chosen and anointed people having great wealth. It is the love of those things above all else that tangles and ensnares us.
Why do we have this struggle within us, when it ultimately brings us such unhappiness? Look with me at verse 9, “People who want to get rich…” Notice that word “want”. Covetousness is at the root of our discontentment. It is the wanting that draws us away from our relationship with God and onto a path that leads to unhappiness. No matter what we have, we want more. Tonight I’ll talk more about how to deal with our covetous nature, but for now, I want to stay focused on obtaining Godliness and being content with it.
Typically, when we see the word contentment used it speaks of being satisfied or self-sufficient. When Paul speaks of contentment here in his letter to Timothy, he is speaking of having our sufficiency in Christ. In fact, he used the same word when he wrote in Philippians 4:11, “…I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” Earlier in that letter he wrote how he could be so content, Phil. 1:21, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”
He counted on Christ in life and in death. In Christ, you truly can have contentment.
So, what do we conclude then? Much of our discontent comes from our obsession to obtain more possessions and wealth at the sacrifice of a godly life. We see that our lives are not nearly as godly as they should be because our obsession pulls us away from our Heavenly Father. We think things like, “If I only had a new (fill in the blank), I could really do great things.”
Instead of thinking what you “can do with”, why not think about what you “can do without?” Do we really need a bigger SUV? Do we need to buy an even bigger house? Do we need the 5.1 Dolby surround studio/cinema in HDTV clarity?