Summary: Being content with finances
Financial Contentment - 1 Timothy 6 - 11/23/08
Join me in turning to the book of 1 Timothy, chapter 6. Timothy is towards the end of the New Testament, in the second half of the Bible. We have been going through this book together. Today, we finish up with chapter 6. Remember we looked in verse 6: But godliness with contentment is great gain.
We saw that this is a letter from the Apostle Paul to Timothy, his young protegé. Paul left Timothy at Ephesus to straighten out the problems in the church there. Ephesus was a city filled with idol worship, sexual immorality, and false teachings. Timothy was a young man and Paul gives him this letter to encourage him to keep on going. Paul has given Timothy practical lessons about godliness -- or “god-like-ness” - what it looks like for us to live like God in day to day life; how we live a life that is pleasing to God.
And God tells us here in verse 6 that we need two things in life: godliness -- a life lived according to God’s plan, and also contentment - to be at peace with what God brings into our life. We mentioned that godliness starts in the heart. We don’t just want to DO the right thing, but we want to serve God from a loving heart that desires to please Him. And we want to be content in what God sees fit to bring into our lives. We see here in this chapter three areas we need contentment.
First, We need Contentment in our Work. Paul writes in verse 1 - All who are under the yoke of slavery should consider their masters worthy of full respect. We mentioned last time we looked here that Contentment is found when you view your work as service to God. And we saw that Godliness is shown when we offer respect to our bosses. How do we do that? By being a good worker. We show godliness by working well.
Paul continues on to address a second area of contentment: We need Contentment in our Faith. He writes in verse 3: If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, he is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.
The truth is that there WERE those teaching false doctrines in the church. And many of them were seeking to grow rich by teaching new, interesting, feel good teachings. They were not biblical, they were not from God, but somehow these false teachers developed a following and they wanted to grow rich through it. And that mentality is abundant in the church today. Just turn on the radio or tv, and you’ll see self-proclaimed evangelists leading ministries that provide them with an excessive amount of cash.
One well-known woman tv teacher -- you’d recognize her name in an instant -- takes an annual salary of $900,000; in addition to $450,000 paid to her husband and in addition to what her children are paid from the ministry. False teachers say it’s God’s desire to make us wealthy. And they call for you to show your “faith” by giving whatever you have. I saw one article about a man who gave away his house and car to one of these charlatans. I have in my files a little “gold book” from Rev. Ewing -- I use the name “reverend” facetiously - that’s what he calls himself. :His little gold book is really a payment book that you use to send in your seed faith gift: if you want a million dollars, then send him a thousand dollars. It sounds like a deal! In fact he has testimonials - Ernest J. from Dayton says “ I sent my check to Rev. Ewing and the next week I got a new Cadillac.” And many Christians fall for these liars, these deceivers hook, line, and stinker!
Let’s be clear what the scripture says: they “have been robbed of the truth and ... think that godliness is a means to financial gain.” The truth is, following God faithfully will not bring you financial gain. It may, God has blessed some with riches, but it may not. Paul tells of his earthly reward for following godliness: Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. And if that’s what happened to Paul, what makes us think we will get rich.