But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment.
1 Timothy 6:6
For all of us living in the USA, we are constantly bombarded with messages through advertising designed to create discontentment so we will buy more products and spend more money. In 2021 over 285 billion U.S. dollars was spent to this effect. Even if you do not watch much TV, it is on billboards and all over the internet and print materials everywhere you look to grab your attention. As believers and followers of Christ, we are taught in scripture to be content in what our Lord has provided us and to place our focus on loving Him and other people as we live out our faith. Please read all of 1 Timothy 6 to get the full meaning of the above text. Paul is writing to Timothy and warning him to not be misled by those who focus on material things and the love of money and mislead others to follow these temporal and worldly pursuits. If we can all learn to be “content” and “full” of joy with what our Lord has provided us, we can then move onto much higher matters, namely living a godly life that seeks to please our Savior and be a blessing to others. To accomplish this, we must choose to focus on the great salvation Jesus Christ has provided us by His sacrifice on the cross and contrast it with our selfish and sinful ways. We must learn to see just how merciful and kind the Lord has already been to us and how all we have is by His grace and mercy. Just as in Paul and Timothy’s time 2,000 years ago, a contest for our priorities exists today. Jesus stated clearly and bluntly that we cannot serve two masters; we cannot love God and money! (Matthew 6:24) Far too many Christians that I have personally known have fallen into the trap mentioned in 1 Timothy 6 in trying to get rich and focus on getting financial wealth to the detriment of their spiritual life and witness. None of the people I have known that did this would ever admit they loved money, they rationalized it with they were doing whatever was necessary to meet their “goals”. Yep, that’s exactly what I am talking about! What are our goals in life? Is it to make our life matter for God and to help others spiritually for eternity, or to acquire more stuff, comfort and just have fun? Are we truly content and grateful to the Lord for all we have, or do we feel “shortchanged” in this life and fuel our priorities by comparisons to others? If we are full of the goodness of God by our relationship with Jesus Christ we will devote ourselves to serving Him in gratitude; this will be well evidenced by an examination of our bank record and our personal calendar. Many people who claim to be Christians have no problem spending many thousands of dollars on recreation and fun stuff and then give the Lord what amounts to “tip money” in offerings for use in the gospel proclamation or helping the needy. Your giving to God is between you and Him and should always be done in faith, love and with joy as taught in 2 Corinthians 9:7, but let us not fool ourselves into thinking we are living rightly with our Lord when He gets our scraps and leftovers financially. He is the King of the Universe and the Living God who has provided redemption for us all; He deserves our best. As we give to God, this is not some ploy or scam to get rich quickly, we should give with no expectation of return because it is supposed to be a “gift” and “offering” to Him to honor His holy Name. I try to live each day as if it is my last in this world; I do not want to face my Lord knowing I held back from Him for my own personal greedy desires or lack of faith. We should give our tithes and offerings gladly knowing we have been given far more than any amount of money or effort could ever repay. Give to help the gospel go forth so others can be blessed. The thought that we would give to “get more” betrays the whole intent and teaching of God’s Word. This month we will be celebrating the holiday of Thanksgiving, let’s be sure our life reflects thanksgiving to God and it is not just lip service. Be truly filled with the joy of the Lord with a grateful heart and He will help you set the right priorities for your life. Blessings!
Love in Christ,
Pastor Gary Houdek