Genuine contentment is one of the hallmarks of godly men and women. Somewhere along the way, they have learned the “secret of contentment,” as Paul speaks of in Philippians 4. And this secret changes everything.
Paul reminded Timothy of the path to this great treasure:
Godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content. But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses (1 Timothy 6:6-12 NASB).
Contentment Is a Means of Great Gain
“Godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment.”
Those who possess this quality are rich, because they have need of nothing!
Contentment Embraces the Transitory Nature of Supposed “Ownership”
“We have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either.”
The contented person knows that all we have in this life is from God and on loan. We are merely stewards, and it is required of a steward to faithfully do what the Owner says with His possessions.
This takes the pressure off. We don’t have to make the decisions about our possessions. We simply listen and obey, for a very, very brief time.
Contented People Have Solved the Contentment Equation
“If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.”
Paul understood the math:
food + covering = contentment
He knew God would supply all he needed. He did not live for anything else but to glorify Him. He was content with anything. He found happiness and ministry everywhere, because he had settled the issue of why (and how) he lived.
Most of us have not solved this equation. We live in the Discontent Equation:
food + covering + ( ? ) = contentment
We always want something else—more things, reputation, health, success, etc. If we live for any of those things, we will never be satisfied; and when we lose any of those things, we become terribly unhappy.
What would YOU say you feel you must have in order to be content?
- Pleasure? Comfort? Travel? Retirement ease?
- Power? Reputation? Acceptance? Recognition? Popularity?
- A certain quality or quantity of things or standard of living?
The reality is, if we have ANYTHING in that blank, our Enemy has us. All he has to do is press that button to distract us with discontent.
Contentment Springs from an Eternal Mindset
“Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called.”
A godly person knows that this life is the DOT, not the LINE, as Randy Alcorn says. We are not living for the moment, but for eternity, which is our ultimate home and calling. We live to lay up treasures there and to spend this brief life taking as many people with us as possible.
A discontented man or woman is fairly useless to God’s purposes, because they are on a restless search for MORE. Their affections are divided, and they have lost the clarity of mission and the “simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:3).
Don’t run past this today. Wrestle deeply, and settle the Contentment Equation. It may prove your greatest step to effectiveness and joy.