Summary: Christians who choose to pursue godliness rather than greed will find contentment in living a life of trust.
Title: Finding Contentment in a Culture of Discontentment
Text: I Timothy 6:6-19
Thesis: Christians who choose to pursue godliness rather than their cravings, will find contentment in living a life of trust.
According to a study by a non-profit research organization, RTI International, researchers at the University of North Carolina found that obese people loose more weight when they are paid to do so. In fact they found that when paid to loose weight they were five times more likely to trim off the pounds. Nancy Hellmich, “Financial Incentives Can Encourage Weight Loss”)
NBC’s reality TV program The Biggest Loser pits teams in competition with each other to determine which team will be the biggest loser. However, while there is team motivation, the ultimate objective is to be the individual biggest loser. The teams engage is physical challenges and weigh-ins to determine who wins from week to week. In 2005 Matt Hoover won $250.000 for loosing 109 pounds during the duration of the show.
Money is a motivator that can move a four hundred pound man off the couch into physical activity and dietary restrictions. Money can do what others cannot encourage a person to do. Money can do what the effects of obesity upon one’s health cannot do. Money can motive one to loose.
However, money can also lead to great excess.
The last couple of years I have kept my eye on the news reports about a certain televangelist who was thoroughly investigated by Ministry Watch in March of 2005 and CBS Television in August of 2007.
They found that despite huge surpluses, the evangelist continued to express need for additional contributions. In one instance, though he currently travels in a personal jet, he asked his contributors for an additional thirty-six million dollars so he could buy a new Gulfstream G450 jet.
Investigators found that he lives in a gated community in an ocean front home valued at 8.6 million dollars. His ministry was cited for exorbitant spending of ministry monies for his family. When he travels, he and his entourage typically check into hotels where the room rates are three-thousand dollars a night. His ministry was cited for misappropriation of funds and fabrications of the truth and given an “F” grade by the folks at Ministry Watch.
Our story begins with the Apostle Paul giving advice to his young protoge, Timothy. He is encouraging Timothy to hold firm to the truth of God’s Word and live a godly life in contrast to those who propose to be spiritual leaders but do so causing a great deal of turmoil and unrest in the church and use religion as a way to get rich.
Such abuses by celebrity religious leaders is thought to be so common that we are hardly shocked when we learn a televangelist has used religion as a way to get rich.
In making his point, the Apostle Paul said to Timothy, rather than being a religious huckster, he should practice true religion. His counsel is that, True religion with contentment is great wealth. I Timothy 6:6
This morning I believe the advice Paul gave to Timothy is a good word for all who live in a culture of discontent.
Our culture of discontent is characterized by three myths:
• Things bring happiness.
• Debt is expected and unavoidable
• A little more money will solve all of our problems. (Good $ense Budget Course, Participant’s Guide, P. 18)
In his argument for learning to live a life of contentment rather than one of discontent and greed, Paul reminds us that things are temporal and transient.
I. Things are temporal and transient
We didn’t bring anything with us when we came into the world, and we certainly cannot carry anything with us when we die. I Timothy 6:7
We have example upon example of the temporal and transient nature of things. Every winter Breckenridge hosts the International Sculpting Championship in which artists sculpt intricate and awe-inspiring snow sculpts from twelve foot tall, twenty-ton blocks of snow. The winning work of art this year was called, “Wise Old Man Winter.” If you want to see “Wise Old Man Winter” you will need to find a photo on the internet because there is not a recognizable trace of him to be found. An ice sculpture is just one example of how temporary and fleeting things may be.
• Things are part of our experience in this earthly life… in this world.
• Things in this word are transient… things come and go. Things are fleeting.
A perfect biblical example is the story of Job who, upon losing all that he valued: seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, 500 teams of oxen, 500 female donkeys, seven sons and three daughters, tore his robe in grief, shaved his head, and fell to he ground before God. Then he said, “I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be stripped of everything when I die.” You may be more familiar with the terminology, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb and naked I shall return.” Job 1:21