Contentment is something that seems to have long been forgotten in American culture. We live in a context that is driven by consumption. Marketers are masters at causing us to be discontent with what we have and offering something to make us content. The push is always for something new. This way of living will rob the follower of Jesus of one of life’s greatest joys, contentment and the blessings it brings.
The Bible has much to say about contentment. This past week in our series “Live with No Excuses, Love with No Regrets” we looked at Kind David’s moral failure with Bathsheba. The fruit of a godly man’s lack of contentment with all that he had. You can listen to the message here. There was one New Testament passage that stood out to me on the importance for the follower of Jesus to pursue contentment. It is found in Paul’s instruction to his protégé Timothy, who was pastoring a large congregation in Ephesus. “But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.” (1 Timothy 6:6–8) The bottom line is the stuff of life is not as important as we think. Think about all the time you spend just researching and contemplating obtaining new stuff. Think also about the dollars that are spent, many times borrowed to purchase new stuff as well as the cost of maintaining it. There is also the emotional energy spent protecting the stuff from being stolen or damaged.
The Bible also reminds us that there is a spiritual cost as well. Paul’s instructions to Pastor Timothy continue, “But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.” (1 Timothy 6:9–10) This past Sunday we looked at David’s failure with Bathsheba. I believe David was a godly man that allowed stuff to distract him from his relationship with God. The result of his choices in 2 Samuel 11 carried many consequences. Many Bible students believe that this account was a turning point in David’s life and family. Yes, God forgave the repentant David when he was confronted by the Prophet Nathan. Yet, the truth of 1 Timothy 6:10 was seen in the heart ache in David’s life and family in a number of ways. David would not only loose the child but his blended family would be traumatized by rape of a daughter by a step brother, the death of that son by the violated sister’s brother, and the banishment of King David as the result of a military coup by this same son. I wonder if David would have made the same choices if he had considered the cost of his actions.
Many years ago now, after the moral failure of a fellow pastor, Caryl and I attended a conference put on by our fellowship that focused on moral failure in the ministry. One of the powerful challenges from the speaker was “Count the Cost!” I wonder how often we fail to count the cost of allowing ourselves to drift in our relationship with Jesus. The pursuit of contentment through stuff always seems to take us to places we do not want to go.
I find the greatest time of contentment in my life follows time spent time with God. Yes, something so simple can make a big difference. How was your time with God today?
-Pastor Joe Parkinson