Contentment

In his first letter to Timothy, the Apostle Paul talked about the importance of godly living and told his son in the faith to “Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12, NKJV). In addition to outlining his pastoral duties, Paul gave Timothy instructions about the use of wealth. Apparently, there were some pastors that were becoming rich as a result of preaching the gospel (1 Timothy 6:9). Paul told Timothy, “Men who are not able to use their minds in the right way because of sin argue all the time. They do not have the truth. They think religion is a way to get much for themselves” (1 Timothy 6:5, NLV).

Paul went on to say that the benefits of godly living outweighed the benefits of wealth. He told Timothy, “Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content” (1 Timothy 6:6-8, NKJV). Paul’s opinion of gaining material comfort seemed to be that it was an unnecessary waste of time. His comment that we brought nothing into this world and we will carry nothing out focused on the practical aspect of Christian living. We don’t have to worry about accumulating material possessions on earth because our treasure will be waiting for us when we get to heaven (Luke 12:33).

Paul warned Timothy against the love of money and said, “But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (1 Timothy 6:9-10, NKJV). Paul seemed to be concerned that Timothy would fall into the same trap that other ministers of the gospel had of taking money unnecessarily from the churches that they were responsible for. Paul wasn’t suggesting that Timothy should work for free (1 Timothy 5:18), but he was saying that Timothy shouldn’t take money unless he needed it for things like food and clothing.

Paul’s final charge and benediction to Timothy pointed out that Christian living isn’t meant to be about getting rich, but about giving away the things that God has blessed us with. He said, “Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life” (1 Timothy 6:17-19, NKJV). Basically, what Paul was saying to Timothy was that Christians need to focus their attention on accumulating treasure in heaven because they will be there for eternity compared to a few years of enjoying material possessions on earth.