Summary: This is a sermon series for our stewardship drive.
6 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. 13 In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you 14 to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 which God will bring about in his own time-- God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen. 17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.
“I came into this world with nothing and I still have most of it left”
A few quick questions for you all... how many of you have a calendar to track events in your life? How many of you wear a watch? How many of you have HAD to be somewhere this week… at a certain place and at a certain time. Life has a way of getting busy.
OK… how about this. How many of you wish you had more space… to keep all your stuff? How many of you sold a huge pile of stuff (that you wont even miss) this past weekend at the all town garage sale. How many of you brought a huge pile of stuff back with you? Life sure has a way of getting full!
There is a huge temptation in our society to keep up with the Jones’. I’m sure you’ve seen the bumper sticker "He who dies with the most toys wins." This is the kind of thinking our society is buying into. Our scripture text today would fit much more nicely in camp with the bumper sticker that says "He who dies with the most toys still dies." “We brought nothing into this world and we take nothing out of it.” It is a humble reminder of what is really important… and here is a spoiler alert… it’s not more stuff!
I don’t know if you remember, but there was a commercial a few years back with a man named Stanley Johnson. As he smiles from ear to ear… he tells us “I’ve got a great family. I’ve got a great four bedroom house in a great community. Like my car? It’s new. I even belong to the local country club. How do I do it? I’m in debt up to my eyeballs! I can barely pay my finance charges. It’s like the saying that I titled this sermon after… “I came into this world with nothing, and I still have most of it left!” While funny… it also isn’t very funny because of all the people that have buried themselves in debt… and buried themselves in misery… in “the pursuit of happiness?”
SIMPLICITY AND CONTENTMENT
“6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.”
The Greek word for contentment “autarkeia” was used in classical Greek philosophy tor mean “a perfect condition of life, in which no aid or support is needed” but it also carries with it the sense of a “mind being contented with its lot.” In the Greek, contentment is considered one of the greatest assets of life.
ILLUS - When NASA first started sending up astronauts, they quickly discovered that ballpoint pens would not work in zero gravity. To combat the problem, NASA scientists spent a decade and $12 billion to develop a pen that writes in zero gravity, upside down, underwater, on almost any surface including glass and at temperatures ranging from below freezing to 300 C. When one of the NASA reps went to brag to a Russian cosmonaut… the cosmonaut laughed and said “We just use a pencil!”