Not long ago, a cousin reminded me that one of my Dad’s favorite verses was 1st Timothy 6:6: “… godliness with contentment is great gain.” Dad often mentioned it, but he didn’t just talk about it; that’s an accurate six-word summary of his life.
It’s interesting that the apostle Paul didn’t insert the word “IF” at the end of that statement, and give the conditions for contentment. Here’s what I mean: in our culture that would look something like this:
“Godliness with contentment is great gain…
…if I have the house of my dreams.”
…if I feel fulfilled in my career.”
…if I have a very well funded 401k.”
…if I can have the assurance that I won’t lose my job.”
…if I’m one step ahead of today’s financial insecurity.”
You get the idea. The apostle Paul DIDN’T add anything to the statement. Godliness with contentment IS great gain. Period.
Paul continued by contrasting godly contentment with “those who desire to be rich”, mentioning temptation, snares, foolish and harmful lusts, drowning in destruction and perdition, the love of money, evil, straying from the faith, greediness, and ends up the topic declaring that those who live that way have “pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” (1st Timothy 6:10) Ouch!
Dad didn’t leave us a fortune, but he left us an example of contentment. He lived through both World Wars and the Great Depression. He got laid off when he had 6 young children and started his own business at that time. He worked very hard to keep us fed and clothed. He traveled and he enjoyed his later years. Dad was generous. When he affirmed that “godliness with contentment is great gain” he meant it. Thankfully, Dad never added “IF” at the end of that affirmation…