|Good morning everyone,|
Our theme for this month: “Great thoughts from great Christians”
Our Bible verse for today: “But godliness with contentment is great gain.” 1 Timothy 6:6 (NIV)
Our thought for today: “Learn to be content”
This morning I want to return us to the story of J.C. Penny, which we considered in yesterday’s devotional. He once confessed about himself, I had permitted the idea of the power of money to possess me.” And as we read yesterday, it nearly killed him – his compulsive preoccupation with money and things almost moved him to take his own life. Fortunately for J.C. Penny, he went on to learn the important truth that Paul taught in 1 Timothy 6:6 that regardless of how much wealth and how many possessions we do or don’t have, godliness and contentment are the keys to a good life, not money and possessions.
Paul went on in 1 Timothy 6:10 to say, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.” Please note that he did not say that money is evil. It isn’t. Money is neutral. It’s just a tool that can be used in good ways or in bad ways. It’s the love of money, the compulsive preoccupation with money and possessions, that’s the root of much evil. And this is the challenge we Christians face in our consumer-oriented culture that is so fixated on conspicuous consumption.
The truth is that contentment isn’t good for the economy. It just isn’t. Content people are satisfied with what they have and therefore they don’t buy more. Discontented consumers tend to spend, spend, spend even when they don’t need to. The entire point of advertising is to make us discontent. Its purpose is to convince us that we need this new product or service and that our lives will be incomplete if we don’t get it. So, on the one hand, as Christians we need to resist the temptation to always want more, more, more, never being satisfied with what we have.
On the other hand, we want and need the economy to be healthy, and therefore we do need to spend. We all enjoy the standard of living we have here in the USA and we want to maintain it. Therefore, there’s a balance that needs to be achieved between being satisfied with what we have, or acquiring more, and that balance has to be learned. The Apostle Paul wrote of this learning process in Philippians 4:11-13 when he wrote,
“…for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”
Don’t miss the fact that Paul wasn’t advocating for either wealth or poverty. Over the course of his life, he had them both. He had times when he was well off and in need of nothing, and he had times when he was dependent on the charity of others. In this verse he wasn’t lauding or promoting either condition. What he was teaching was that he had learned to be content and satisfied, relying on the Lord at all times, regardless of what his circumstances were.
That needs to be true for us too. Our faith and trust must be in Jesus. Godliness and contentment are the keys to a good life, not money and possessions.
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