Summary: So how do we turn our back on the feeling of being discontent and cultivate a great sense of contentment in our lives?
CONTENT TO BE CONTENT
SHEEP STORY PART 1 (p)
Once upon a time, there was a herd of sheep in a safe green cozy valley. You know sheep… fluffy… eat a lot… gets haircuts to make clothes for people. This herd of sheep was pretty large and was taken care of by a young shepherd. The young shepherd was bored. Always bored. He longed for an exciting life. He would play with the sheep. He would sing to the sheep. He even named the sheep. Each and every sheep had a name and he knew them all.
One day he was watching the sheep… just bored out of his skull… and he came to a decision. He stood up. He went over to the sheep named “Lucky” and took his head in his hands.
“Lucky,” he said in a firm voice, “the grass is always greener on the other side of the hill. I am done. I name you Lucky the Sheep Shepherd. You are in charge now. You lead the sheep. You sing songs to them. You name them. You be the one who is bored. I am out of here.” And with that, the shepherd boy stood up and walked away over the next hill to change his life.
READ 1 Timothy 6:6-12
“But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 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. 10 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. 11 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 12 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.”
As we think about the verses in 1 Timothy 6 this morning, one of the first words I noticed when I was reading was the word “contentment.” “Contentment” means “a state of happiness and satisfaction.” The Apostle Paul is recommending that we cultivate contentment in our lives because we are godly people. We are people who pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness. We have those things as our core values.
I want you to notice if you will the context of the word “contentment.” We are not talking about relationships or physical looks or life circumstances, but rather we are talking about finances. The sense we get from these verses is that the Christian way of living is not as its primary goal going after money and amassing wealth. That certainly does not mean that money cannot be saved or earned or business deals struck which make us money. Loving money crowds out the contentment Paul is talking about. Paul says that wanting more and more money are “foolish desires” and lead only to “ruin.” Desiring more and more money may force us to do things we would not normally do. Paul calls that “piercing ourselves with many griefs.” Paul specifically in these verses says that contentment with financial things is a must for the believer.
The Bible mentions contentment with money a few times in the Old Testament and the New Testament. Two passages from the New Testament caught my eye.
* Philippians 4:11-13 tells us, “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”
Please notice that the often quoted Philippians 4:13 about us doing all things through Christ has a context of being content with money and physical material things. Paul found that the only way he could be content with the financial circumstances was through his faith in Christ.
* Hebrews 13:5-6 reminds us, “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." So we say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”
Again, we are shown in the Bible that the only way to be content with financial circumstances is to rely on God through it. God brings us confidence in these matters. God brings us strength.