Summary: Last in a five part series from 1 Timothy. This message focuses on how to be content.
This morning we’re going to wrap up our study of 1 Timothy. For the last 5 weeks we’ve seen how God intends for us to grow together in his family – the church. We’ve seen that in order to grow together as a family we need to have:
• Sound doctrine that is based on the word of God
• Men and women who serve the church in their god-given roles
• Church leaders who are men and women of good character who desire to serve the church for the glory of God and the well-being of others.
• A church body that treats each other with respect, meets the needs of its people, protects the leadership and promotes a godly lifestyle
In chapter 6, Paul deals with several issues that seem to be unrelated, but as I read through that chapter, there does seem to be a common thread. Paul seems to me to be writing about how we can find contentment in our lives – in our jobs, in our faith and in our finances. And in each one of those areas, we’ll find that:
The key to our contentment is not changing our circumstances, it is changing our focus.
The key to contentment in my job:
August 31, 2005 posting on “Business Wire”:
“No wonder U.S. workers look forward to a long holiday weekend! According to a just-released national poll, 6 in 10 Americans say their jobs are no better than a "so-so" date (no love connection, but the restaurant was great and the meal was free). And some of them might actually prefer a trip to the dentist than to work! “
A Harris poll taken in June 2004 also found that many employees dislike their jobs and do not have good feelings about their employers and senior managers. For example:
• While 59 percent of employees are satisfied with their jobs, that leaves two out of every five (41%) workers who are not.
• Fully one-third (33%) of workers feel that they are at a dead-end at their current jobs, and even more (42%) believe they are "trying to cope with feelings of burnout."
• Fewer than half (44%) of employees feel glad that they chose to work for their current employers over others.
• Only just over a third (37%) believe that their "top management displays integrity and morality."
All who are under the yoke of slavery should consider their masters worthy of full respect, so that God’s name and our teaching may not be slandered. Those who have believing masters are not to show less respect for them because they are brothers. Instead, they are to serve them even better, because those who benefit from their service are believers, and dear to them. These are the things you are to teach and urge on them.
1 Timothy 6:1, 2 (NIV)
Slavery in the 1st century:
• Much different than the racial slavery of the American South before the Civil War
• Many slaves were permanently employed domestic workers who served as managers, cooks, teachers, and even doctors. They were provided with food, clothing, and shelter and often received a small wage.
• William Barclay estimates that there were as many as 60 million slaves in the Roman Empire
Paul deals with two distinct situations:
Serving a non-Christian master
Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God.
1 Peter 2:18-20 (NIV)
Honor your master so that the name of God will not be harmed
Serving a Christian master
There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Galatians 3:28 (NIV)
That verse does not eliminate racial, social or sexual distinctions. In the early church it was very possible that an elder could be the slave of another church member who was not in leadership.
Work even harder because it will benefit your Christian brother.
Many people mistakenly believe that our work is a result of the fall. But God very clearly assigned work to man before the fall:
The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.
Genesis 2:15 (NIV)
As a result of the fall, work did become more painful and difficult, but here is the key to finding contentment in my job: