1 Timothy 6:6-10
6 Now godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8 And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. 9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
Many in todays society feel deeply discontented. “If only I had a better boss, if only I could make more money. If I could just work for that company, I could make more…& so on. We’ve all heard it, at one point in our life…before Christ we went after the mighty dollar. But what about now…now that we are Christians? Should we still follow the mighty dollar? Or be content with Jesus?
We can learn to be content when we grow and see God as our sole provider. Here is one of the verses that stuck in my mind when I was a new Christian…
Proverbs 30:8-9 (NIV)
8 but give me only my daily bread. 9 Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you
and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ Or I may become poor and steal and so dishonor the name of my
You see…much of our restlessness comes from desiring the many perks our culture offers. But do we really need them? Can we get by without them? You see, God will often our wants out of the His goodness and grace. Also, God PROMISES to give what we need. God blessing us with our wants…not needs is a perk.
People who trap animals in Africa for zoos in the Western world say that one of the hardest animals to catch is the ring-tailed monkey. For the local Zulus, though, it’s fairly simple. They know the monkeys love the seeds of a locally grown melon. So they just put a melon on a vine, and cut a hole in the melon just large enough for the hand of a monkey to fit into. The monkey reaches in and grabs the seeds, but then can’t remove its clenched fist from the melon. His fist is larger than the hole. The monkey will fight the melon trap for hours without ever letting go of his seeds. Meanwhile, the Zulus sneak up and catch him.
Sometimes we are like that ring-tailed monkey. In fact, I would submit that despite being “one nation under God,” our true national religion is consumerism. We love to buy. We treat everything like we are marrying it. You know, “to have and to hold from this day forward.” We buy and buy, wanting more and more. And once we have something, it never quite delivers the way we expected. And so we need more.
1 Timothy is a letter the Apostle Paul wrote to his young protégé, a pastor named Timothy. In it, he has practical advice for Timothy as well as for the folks in Timothy’s church, during a time when Greek society was fairly affluent by world standards. Perhaps the same lessons for Timothy and his parishioners would hold true for us today. When it comes to the almighty dollar, consider these principles on your outline. First, learn to...
1: Be content with what you have.
1 Timothy 6:6-8
6 Now godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8 And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.
Paul took a word popular among Greek stoics and gave it new meaning. To a stoic, you became “content” by becoming self-sufficient. Paul says, what’s really profitable is to be godly AND content at the same time. And he reminds us that we came into this world with nothing, and we’ll leave this world with nothing. Everything we have is a gift for a time. We are not so much SELF-sufficient as we are GOD-sufficient. And all we really need are the basics, like food, clothing, and shelter.
Elsewhere, in his letter to the Philippians (Philippians 4:11-13), Paul writes,
Philippians 4:11-13 (NIV)
11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.
Who’s the “Him”? Christ. The secret is Christ, who gives us strength. Now listen… If we have Christ, we have everything. If we do not have Christ, then no matter how much we have, we have nothing. In Christ, we can be thankful for all things, whether we have much or little. And out of our gratitude comes deep-seated contentment. Hebrews 13:5 has some good advice on the subject.
Hebrews 13:5 (NIV)
5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
It says, “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have.” How do we become content? Charles Stanley says we do it by “asking God to teach us how to have gratitude for what we have, rather than complain about what we’re missing.” Someone once said, “Contentment is not measured by what we have, contentment is measured by what we don’t have.” Learn to be content with what you have, and on the flip side...
2. Guard against greed.
Listen to verses 9 and 10:
1 Timothy 6:9-10
9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
If the first point had one of the best-known verses of the Bible -- “We brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it” -- this section has one of the most often wrongly quoted verses: “For the love of money is the root of all evil.” Sometimes people say, “The Bible says MONEY is the root of all evil,” look at it! It doesn’t say that at all. Money is a necessary thing in our economy, as it was in Paul’s. He has nothing against wealthy people. He will address them later on. But it’s the LOVE of wealth/money that can get us into trouble. “those who want to get rich;” the “love of money;” “eager for money.”
God has promised to meet our need, not our greed! One time someone approached Jesus and asked Him to take care of some inheritance issue with his brother. Jesus responded pretty sharply, seemingly upset about the man’s apparent selfishness. Then he said, in Luke 12:15,
Luke 12:15 (NIV)
15 Then He said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”
True satisfaction in life flows out of fulfilling the purpose for which we were created…to enjoy an intimate relationship with God. As a substitute for God, acquiring material excess only makes the heart feel hollow/empty.
WE are NOT our net worth! WE are much more than that. How do we guard against greed? Same way we stay content, we stay thankful. It’s hard to be greedy when our heart is full of gratitude. Focus on what we do have, not what you don’t have.
Some people say, “Why should I be grateful to God? It’s really my hard work that got me where I am today!” No doubt God honors hard work but remember who gave you the strength to do the work. Deuteronomy 8:18 says…
18 “And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.
Be content with what you have. Guard against greed. And...
3. Share generously with others.
1 Timothy 6:17-19
17 Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. 18 Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, 19 storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.
You see that is one of the things I love about what God has done with the Fil-Am Baptist Mission Church. Each and every member is ready to do good, rich in good works, ready to give and always willing to share. God has truly taken full control of this church/His church.
You see…Wealth is uncertain. It can be here today and gone tomorrow. Remember the stock market crash of 2008? Many lost their retirements during that time. When you invest, your advisor wants to know your willingness to risk, your risk tolerance. Our only truly safe investment is in God. Paul tells us to put our hope in God, our provider.
If you share with others, you fight the temptation to be greedy. Greedy people don’t share. Generous people do. Paul says, “Want to be rich? Be rich in good deeds!” That’s rich!!!
In His famous Sermon on the Mount, in Matthew 6:19-21, Jesus said…
19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
What does it mean to “store up for yourselves treasures in heaven?” Look for ways to invest in eternal things. Look for ways to bless people and to lead them to a loving relationship with their Creator.
Lastly: Let me end with this short story:
Two friends met in the street. One looked sad and almost on the verge of tears. The other man said, "Hey my friend, how come you look like the whole world has caved in?"
The sad fellow said, "Let me tell you. Three weeks ago, an uncle died and left me 50-thousand dollars."
"That's not bad at all...!"
"Hold on, I'm just getting started. Two weeks ago, a cousin I never knew kicked-the-bucket and left me 95-thousand, tax-free to boot."
"Well, that's great! I'd like that."
"Last week, my grandfather passed away. I inherited almost a million."
"So why are so glum?"
"This week - nothing!"
Church…you have heard me say it before...our life is but a mist. Here today gone tomorrow.
We struggle so hard to earn the mighty dollar…so hard that we miss out on the most important things God has given us. Our relationship with Jesus. Jesus has become second/no longer first priority. Our families…spouse/children. They too had been pushed aside, ignored. Then what happens…divorce/broken family.
You see…look around you. Everyone here, (your family) Everyone in your household, (your family) This church and everyone that is in it. Your household and everyone that is in it, are all eternal. These are the things that are eternal. Our life with Christ and our life with each other are all eternal. When this life is over, we will go into our next life/our eternal life together.
Everything here on earth will be gone. Let us not focus on the things that God will one day destroy. Lets all focus on Jesus and the eternal life that He has promised. I want all of us to make it. I don’t want anyone of you getting left behind. Let’s all finish the race together.
Pastor Richard Santos
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