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. People 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. (1 Timothy 6:6-10)
The secret to an effective trap is to keep your prey from seeing the menacing end that lies ahead. Instead of seeing a mouse trap that should scream DANGER, all the mouse sees is the piece of cheese. By the time the trap is tripped, it is too late. The mouse is caught. Its fate is sealed.
In this portion of God’s Word a seasoned pastor named Paul is warning a young pastor named Timothy about the trappings of wealth and having a lifelong ambition of being rich. Wealth can be like a piece of cheese. We want it so badly that we don’t realize what we stand to lose in getting it.
Do you know anyone who has given up too much in an attempt to get rich? How about the woman who lost her marriage because she was working 60+ hours a week in an effort to get the big promotion? Or maybe it was the man who always had time for work, but never for his family. Now his children resent him and won’t even talk to him. Perhaps you know someone like this, or maybe you know this type of pain firsthand. As bad as these consequences can be, an even greater pain would be to have riches destroy one’s relationship with God.
Paul’s words to Timothy are meant to warn us. But they also are meant to encourage us. We are encouraged to fight greed with contentment. One way to pursue contentment is to count blessings. We do well to remember that God takes care of all of our physical needs. He gives us food and clothing and provides all that we need for our body and life.
As great as it is to have our daily needs met, an even greater source of our contentment comes from the spiritual needs that have been filled by Christ. Every day as we consider the wrongs that we have done, even the sin of being greedy, we know that Jesus has forgiven it. He took all our sins to the cross and paid for them there. On a daily basis we can count our blessings of love, care and concern that come from our gracious God.
Take the apostle Paul’s advice and save yourself from a lot of misery. Be content with the blessings God gives to you in your life. Give thanks for the physical and spiritual gifts he gives to you. Pursue godliness with contentment.