Summary: How being content leads to godliness in the way we use our possessions.
September 12, 2004 GODLINESS with contentment
When a Christian really grabs hold of the promises of God, he will realize that God has given him everything - absolutely nothing has been held back. First and foremost, he has complete perfection in Christ. Hebrews 10:10 states that we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Second of all, God promises us that ALL THINGS work out for our good. (Romans 8:28) Therefore, he believes Paul when he promises that, “All things are yours whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.” (1 Co 3:22-23) This has a great effect on the way he lives. Obviously, he has to be content. You and I realize that if God has everything serve our good, and we are most importantly going to heaven - how can we complain? How can we really be unhappy with what God has given us? But it goes beyond just being content. Paul told Timothy that “godliness with contentment is great gain.” When we are content, it leads to living and pursuing a godly life. Today we’ll see how.
I. It frees us up to serve freely
Godliness with contentment - that’s God’s formula to stewardship. If anything in this formula is missing or reversed, it leads to disaster. For example, many people are driven to contentment WITHOUT godliness - which leads to disaster. It’s found in little kids who think, “I have to make the soccer team.” Or, “I have to get that new video game.” In high school they think, “I have to get a new car”, or “I have to get a date.” As you grow older, the have to’s become more expensive. People feel they have to get new furniture, a new house, more children, and a hundred other things. Others get plastic surgery on their bodies thinking that then they will be more acceptable to society. The problem isn’t necessarily that they are seeking these things - but that their world revolves around them alone. As a result, everything they seem to do in life - whether eating, drinking, working, dressing, or playing - never brings contentment.
Even we as Christians can get caught up in this mindset. Max Lucado wrote an interesting book called, “If I only had a Green Nose”, that wonderfully illustrates how this goes. It features two little wooden dolls - one by the name of Punichello . They lived in a village where everyone felt it was fashionable to have green noses and walk with their noses in the air. Punichello at first thought it was ridiculous to walk around with a green nose, but when a cute girl thought that Punichello should paint his nose green, he went ahead and painted it green. Pretty soon, the color changed to red, then yellow then another color and another. After they had spent several months trying to keep up with the other dolls, they finally gave up, went back to their maker, had him painfully rub off the coats of paint from their noses, and went back to being what their maker had made them be.
Another error that is made in looking to godliness FOR contentment. What I mean by that, is that they try to sacrifice themselves and meet a standard that they think will make God be happy with them - and then give them everything they want. They think that if they put ten percent of their money in the plate or pray every evening then God will have to be happy with them. They treat God like a vending machine of contentness - give God his quarter and He’ll give them what they want - making them content. In the end, this too was a selfish motivation - because it is based on wanting God to recognize you and appreciate you.
God’s ideal in giving us the Gospel - in telling us that God has already recognized us and accepted us in Christ - is to make us content - so we realize that in the long run - all of these things don’t matter. If you know God loves you in Christ and that is all important to you, then you have a single focus in life - to praise Him and have people glorify HIM. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 10:31, So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. In comparison with heaven, it doesn’t matter if your classmates think you are out of fashion. It doesn’t matter if you end up broke. It doesn’t matter if you don’t’ get a promotion. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have any friends and people think you are a loser. All that ultimately matters is what God thinks of you. As Paul said, Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. (1 Ti 1:15-16) As the song says, “Just as I am, without one plea, but that thy blood was shed for me.” God already recognizes and accepts you as a son or daughter - before you do anything. No matter what the world thinks of you, God loves you in Christ. No matter how sinful you are, Jesus died for you. Through faith in Christ - you are going to heaven.