Scripture Reflections @ CEC by Karen Callis
Updated: May 14, 2020
“The Bible is the book of my life. It's the book I live with, the book I live by, the book I want to die by.” -N. T. Wright
Scripture & Devotion: 1 Timothy 6:6-11
These are the things you are to teach and insist on. If anyone teaches otherwise and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, they are conceited and understand nothing. They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain. But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.
Godliness, Contentment & Gain
Yesterday morning I woke up with a scripture verse in my head. It's not even a verse from anything I have been reading lately - not from our women's online study in 1 Peter, not from our recent journey through Mark in our sermon series, but from 1 Timothy.
Just a verse. Here it is. "But godliness with contentment is great gain."(1 Timothy 6:6)
Contentment. I suppose the reason it came to mind is that so much of what I read on social media these days is full of discontentment. People seem agitated, fearful and angry over perceived injustices. We're restless and tired. We're ready to get back to "normal." We are discontent.
This verse packs a lot into these 7 words. While I'd love to just look at this verse, it starts out with one small word.
Which forces us to see what comes before - what is the contrast? The contrast that Paul makes is that there are those who live as if godliness is a means to financial gain. (and in actuality, the previous verses talking about an "unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction" have pretty much described all of social media.)
Paul is saying there are people who think that godliness is a means to financial gain, BUT godliness with contentment is great gain.
Jeremiah Burroughs - a preacher from the 1600's, says this:
My brethren, the reason why you have not got contentment in the things of the world is not because you have not got enough of them. That is not the reason. But the reason is because they are not things proportionable to that immortal soul of yours that is capable of God Himself. Many men think that when they are troubled and have not got contentment, it is because they have but a little in the world, and if they had more then they would be content. That is just as if a man were hungry, and to satisfy his craving stomach he should gape and hold open his mouth to take in the wind, and then should think that the reason why he is not satisfied is because he has not got enough of the wind. No, the reason is because the thing is not suitable to a craving stomach.
We're looking to the wrong things to fill our empty spaces, our hurting places. We're hoping to fill our longings with someTHING instead of someONE.
Does contentment mean I never pray for something better? Am I being discontent if I pray that God heals me from my auto-immune disease? Because what if it is not God's purpose to heal me right now? How do we pray in faith and rest in contentment? Thankfully, Scripture speaks to questions like this. I think about 3 boys standing in a fiery furnace, who say to a king "Our God is able to save us from it , and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods ..." (Daniel 3) Or what about Job? "Though He slay me, yet I will hope in Him." (Job 13:15)
Hoping in God, yet content with the outcome.
So I pray. I ask for more.
My question is this: What do I want more of? If I'm honest, much of the time I want more (or better) someTHING. I want a certain outcome. Material things. Health. Stability. Safety. Achievements. Sweets.
I need more of someONE in my life. I want and need more of Jesus in my life - more faith, more trust, more love, more joy, more peace in spite of the external circumstances around me and internal thoughts within me. I want more of the intangible, imperishable qualities that come from walking through life with Him. I want more of His character to be evident to those around me. That is the godliness that brings contentment as I focus on someONE, not someTHING.
Such great truth in this one little verse. We gain our whole soul as we are content in YOU, not the things around us, even the good and wonderful things You bless us with. May we be filled with You so that You transform us, You mold us into the likeness of Jesus, and teach us to be content in You.