Yesterday’s sermon at WordServe Church concluded a 3 part series on “Money Matters.” This series wasn’t the everyday stuff of budgets and savings plans. It went much deeper to core issues behind possessions and wealth.
One of the main core issues can be addressed by a simple question:
Are you content?
If we aren’t, how can we become content?
How to Get Contentment
Our backdrop is 1 Timothy 6:3-12, 17-19. In the interest of your time, allow me to propose two “must haves” for contentment:
1. Godly Life
What is a godly life? Well, it’s not just about doing the right thing. It’s not following the rules. It’s a lifestyle that comes from our core. And it happens (or doesn’t happen) to the extent that we’re living in Christ and Christ is living in us.
So, how do we get there?
One major essential in a godly life is wholesome teaching:
“Some people may contradict our teaching, but these are the wholesome teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. These teachings promote a godly life.” (1 Tim 6:3 NLT)
But how do we know we’re receiving “wholesome teaching?” When it comes to religious teachings, there are a lot of options. We are right to be careful about sound doctrine, it ensures we don’t get away from teachings of Christ. But sound doctrine alone won’t even do the trick.
You know what I think the litmus test is for “wholesome teaching?” Paul tells us in the last half of verse 3: “These teachings promote a godly life.”
In other words, wholesome teaching isn’t about knowing the right things. It’s not about doing the right things. It’s teaching that becomes daily life. At WordServe Church, we call this “Connecting our faith to everyday life.”
It’s a lifestyle that oozes grace and peace. It’s a life of love so complete that there is no need for rules.
“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!” (Gal 5:22–23 NLT)
Ultimately, a godly life is a combination of our learning and our leaning. We learn from scripture, community, and contemplation. But we lean on the Holy Spirit to help us move from learning about a godly life to living a godly life.
2. Eternal Perspective
Billy Graham once pointed out that he’s never seen a U-Haul in a funeral procession. It’s the modern equivalent of Paul’s warning that we can’t take it with us:
“Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it. So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content.”
(1 Tim 6:6–8 NLT)
It never ceases to amaze me how much time and effort we spend in pursuing all things temporary (a Temporal perspective). The latest and greatest catches our attention and we must have it, whether we’re competing with our neighbors, or because we’re consumed by our desire.
Never mind that God warned us centuries ago about coveting the things our neighbors have. And just ignore the fruit that will come from fulfilling our desires and not God’s desires. None of these will produce contentment.
Keeping an eternal perspective reminds us that we can’t take it with us. But it also reminds us that we will one day answer for what we’ve done with what God has given to us. When that day comes, I’d much rather point to my riches in heaven than my earthly estate.
Paul’s instruction to Timothy still rings true for us today:
“Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others. By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may experience true life.” (1 Tim 6:18–19 NLT)
How Then Shall We Live?
Paul doesn’t leave Timothy hanging. Take a look at Paul’s advice in 1 Timothy 6:11-12 and ask yourself how these things look in your life:
- Run from evil things
- Chase after what is right and good
- Maintain a right relationship with God
- Hold on to an eternal perspective
At the end of the day, a godly life and an eternal perspective can make us billionaires in the currency of contentment. Paul didn’t just talk a good talk… he knows what it means to be content no matter what:
“Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”
(Phil 4:11–13 NLT)
Here’s to a godly life, an eternal perspective, and a God who never fails us!
– How would you define contentment in your own words?
– What other ingredients would you add for contentment?
— What leads you to include them?
— Does Scripture support them?
– Why does money seem to be the chief enemy of contentment in this passage? What ramifications does that have for your life?
– What other enemies of contentment do you face?
– Paul says we should store up treasures for the future… what investment strategies would be pleasing to God and result in our contentment? (Note: your criteria has to meet BOTH God’s pleasure and our contentment!).
— Is this different from your current investment strategies?
— If so, what would have to change in the way you approach wealth and resources?
– What things can you do this week to:
— pursue a godly life?
— keep an eternal perspective?