1 Timothy 6:6, But godliness with contentment is great gain.
How many of us, I wonder, know godly contentment? That is, how many of us are content—satisfied without want—for all we have, that is, for all God has graciously given us? I would even contend that all us first world American citizens have more than we need. Currently, I am typing on my 2018 MacBook Pro with my iPhone 7 Plus on my right, my journaling Bible to my left, and a hot cup of coffee on my right.
All this I am doing on my desk with my video game systems in the next room, a 55-inch flat screen TV, all of which are inside a decent flat. To me, these are all average things to have, yet in retrospect, they are far more than I need. I am blessed to have this expensive laptop, a Bible in which I can journal in, and walk down the street to grab a fresh cup of hot coffee. These luxuries aren’t available in many parts of the world.
What I have just described about myself I believe describes most of us in America, if not to the same extent, at least to a similar extent. In the eyes of many, I could use “more” things. In a celebrity’s eyes, I am a knave of society. In the eyes of those who make six figures a year, I am poor and could live in a much better area in a much better flat with more expensive electronics.
If I were any other materialistic American, I would desire such things, but I do not, for I am content with what God has given me. Would I like a six-figure salary? Of course. Who wouldn’t? But that’s my greed talking. I don’t need to make six figures in order to live a comfortable life. I don’t need a bigger TV, or more computers, or what-have-you.
Why is godly contentment a greater gain than greed? Paul continues, “for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs” (vv. 7-10).
We came into this world naked—with nothing—and we will come out of this world naked—with nothing. Greed for wealth brings temptation, it is a trap, and it brings destruction on the greedy one. Somehow, even Hollywood gets this right. They portray a lot of films and shows in which the main character becomes greedy for wealth, only to face destruction in the end. For as Paul says, the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.
People misquote this all the time. They say, “The Bible says money is the root of all evil.” No, it says the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. There is nothing wrong with money in and of itself, for we need it in this world to survive. However, the love of money produces all kinds of evil, for greed will seek any means to acquire what it lusts after. Godly contentment, however, recognises God gives and takes away (Job 1:21), and gives thanks to God for all He has given them.