The Expository Files



1 Timothy 6:6-8

"Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content" (I Timothy 6:6-8, NKJV).

Contentment is from the word that suggests the idea of sufficiency that something is enough. Paul's use of the term in I Timothy suggests, "that inner God-given sufficiency which does not depend on material circumstances" (Duane Litfin). Jesus implies the importance of contentment when He warned, guard against greed (Lk. 12:15). Contentment has to do with recognizing the sufficiency of what we have.

If we learn to be content, we avoid the "someday's" of life and enjoy today. You know, "Some day I'll have a new house, then I'll be happy." "Someday I'll be married, then I'll enjoy life." "Someday I'll join the perfect church, then I'll start to grow." Because contentment flows from the heart, it allows us to enjoy the here and now. Real contentment does not feed on circumstances or wishful thinking.

If we learn contentment, we will be free to appreciate the accomplishments of others and be free of envy. Contentment frees us from the burden of competition and comparing. The more content we are with our own lives, the more we can celebrate one another's successes.

If we learn to be content we will also be more grateful. Those who lack contentment do not realize what it means to be truly thankful. By focusing on what we do not have, we lose sight of all the blessings, spiritual and material, God has provided. Gratitude is the cornerstone of effective faith.

Simply put, godliness plus contentment equals great gain. That gain is more than material wealth destroyed by moths and rust and stolen by thieves (Matt. 6:19). It is the imperishable treasure of heaven that inner peace and satisfaction of being right with God and walking in His footsteps alone can bring (Matt. 6:20-21; Prov. 3:13-26).

Contentment is not a formula. There is no pill we can swallow to instantly achieve it. Instead, it is a by-product of a close walk with God.

By Rickie Jenkins
From Expository Files 14.2; February 2007