But 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. Those 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 (NIV)
Read: 1 Timothy 6:1-10
Consider: What can cause discontentment in life? For many people it is dissatisfaction with their working life. Paul knows that there are some who might choose not to work hard and to give their employer value for money. This is something we still see today. We may also know some people whose satisfaction level might be very closely linked to the amount of money they can earn and therefore their spending power. In 1 Timothy chapter 6 Paul confronts the issue of contentment head on.
Paul encourages believing slaves to respect their masters. Paul’s reason for this is that God’s name and Christian teaching would not be the subject of ridicule. The modern application of this is that workers who are Christians should not disrespect their employers, but work hard for them. This means that employers should notice their employees’ commitment to their work. Of course they might never link the employee’s faith with their commitment, but the point is that they should not have any reason to complain. Paul also deals with Christians working for Christian employers (verse 2). Knowing that both love the Lord, there should be an underlying bond between them that transcends the employer – employee relationship. In this case, because they are both Christians, Paul encourages employees to work even harder for these employers.
Later in the chapter Paul talks directly about contentment (verses 6-10). He contrasts those who seek financial gain with those who have godly contentment. While the world values financial gain, Paul states that ‘… godliness with contentment is great gain’. His logic is that as we bring nothing into the world and take nothing out of it, our contentment should not be based on amassing wealth. Paul sees through the materialistic worldly view of money, not because money is bad in itself, but because he knows that if a person’s focus is on money and not God, then they can ‘… wander away from the faith ...’ (10).
Pray: Father, may we remember that although we work for employers, we ultimately work for you. Help us to keep our focus on what is important in life, so that money does not become something that pulls us away from our faith. We pray for anyone who has taken their eyes of you and have drifted away; may they be restored to you and may they experience true godliness with contentment. Amen