Summary: Watch out for the ogre in the pit! Here’s how you can be truly content
1 Timothy 6:6-12 GODLINESS WITH CONTENTMENT IS GREAT GAIN
I would like to start out this sermon with a story – listen closely, and see if you can get the point. Once upon a time there was a White Knight looking for adventure. He came to a village where legend told of a terrible ogre in a pit. Bravely the White Knight took up the challenge. He would do battle with the terrible ogre in the pit. The people there remembered several courageous men who had climbed down into the pit, but no one could remember even one of those champions returning.
The White Knight stood looking at the deep, dark hole. The opening was so narrow that he took off his armor and almost all of his clothing. He took only a long dagger, which he tied around his neck with a leather strap. After secruing a rope at the opening and testing its strength, he gripped it firmly and began lowering himself, hand under hand, letting the rope slip between his feet. Soon he felt the cool, smooth floor of the chamber. It took several minutes for his eyes to adjust to the darkness, but soon he focused on a large mound. Then he realized that it was the bones of his predecessors, along with their assortment of weapons. A little way off he spotted another mound, but he wasn’t sure what it was.
Suddenly he was surprised by the inhabitant of the pit – surprised because he didn’t anticpate that the ogre would be only as tall as a rabbit. The little creature waved his arms and screeched with its squeaky voice, trying to appear as fierce as possible. The White Knight picked up a sword from the floor and prepared to do battle, but quick as a rat, the little creature ran into a hole near the second mound.
The White Knight followed, and as the second mound became clearer, he again was surprised. Before his eyes glittered giant pieces of gold, as big as apples, and giant diamonds, each one as big as a plum. With only a small part of that treasure, any commoner would be a prince for life. The little ogre lost its importance in view of this great treasure.
But the White Knight had a problem. How would he carry it out of the hole? He had no pockets.
Suddenly he had an idea. He would put one of the giant diamonds in his mouth and carry it that way as he climbed out of the hole. He could always come back later for the rest. Hurriedly, he chose the largest diamond he could find, put it into his mouth, and began the difficult climb out of the pit, hand over hand, gripping the rope with his feet. His tongue held the diamond tightly to the roof of his mouth. Higher and higher he climbed until he began to lose his breath. He would have to breathe through his mouth in order to get some air. As he took in a large gulp of air, the diamond slipped and stuck into his throat, and the knight fell to his death on the mound of bones below.
You see, the terrible ogre in the pit wasn’t that little troll. The ogre in the pit was greed. It was greed that had killed all those men before the White Knight. And it was greed that killed the man in our story. (This illustration, and others in this sermon, are taken from “Illustrations Unlimited,” Tyndale House Publishers, 1988).
Today, we live in a world that is choking itself to death on money. The medical field will tell you that we Americans are literally eating ourselves to death. Financial experts will tell you that we are literally spending ourselves into bankruptcy. We live in a culture that encourages you to shove as much food into your mouth, and as much money into your pockets as you can. But a Christian is someone who is the opposite of all that. Instead of being greedy, a Christian is someone who is content. And instead of being greedy, a Christian is someone who is generous.
Look at how the Apostle Paul talks about contentment in our text for today. Verse 6 says, “Godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and we can take nothing out of it.” Contentment starts with realizing that all the material things you have are only temporary. The story is told by the chief accountant of one of the wealthiest men who ever lived – John D. Rockefeller Sr. Someone asked the accountant one day, “How much did Rockefeller leave after he died?” Without hesitation, the accountant said, “Everything!” And so it is with you – contentment starts with understanding that everything you own, everything will eventually be left behind.