Sunday, September 03, 2006

Godliness with contentment

"But godliness with contentment is great gain." -- I Timothy 6:6

In contrast to a life long struggle to accumulate as much as we can, godliness with contentment is great gain. What is godliness? John Gill writes, "By 'godliness' is not meant any particular grace, but all the graces of the Spirit of God; as faith, hope, love, fear, &c. the whole of internal religion, as it shows itself in outward worship, and in all acts of holiness of life and conversation..." One dictionary defines contentment as "happiness with one's situation in life." In the material realm, gain is usually thought of as possessions, or we might say, making a PROFIT. Some suppose that gain is godliness (I Timothy 6:5), but there is true profit in a contented life full of godly fruits of the Spirit.

If we have God as a possession and His Spirit as a witness, the bare necessities of life are enough. "And having food and raiment let us be therewith content." (I Timothy 6:8) We brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. (I Timothy 6:7) Whatever God grants us to have in this life is profit -- It is more than we came with, and it is more than we will take away. Paul learned that "in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content." (Philippians 4:11) May God grant we learn the lesson well. The love of money is an evil that will wreck our lives. (I Timothy 6:10)

Contentment is the opposite of covetousness. Hebrews 13:5 says, "Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." Covetousness is a greed that always seeks to have more. Contentment says God is enough. Much of our western world is driven by greed and covetousness. We don't describe it with such negative terms, but it is there. Perhaps Job said it best, "the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord." If we can say that in the face of much adversity, perhaps we know something of how godliness with contentment is great gain!

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say,
"It is well, it is well with my soul."
By Horatio G. Spafford

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