Paul speaks here about contentment in several forms. He first warns that believing slaves who also have Christian masters “must not be disrespectful on the ground that they are brothers; rather they must serve all the better”(1 Tim 6:2). This type of slavery is not as brutal as American slavery and Paul urges contentment for Christian slaves. He also warns about a type of person Timothy must avoid. His description is so specific that he must have a particular case in mind: “He is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction”(1 Tim 6:4-5). His discontent spreads to others under the guise of spiritual discussion that only creates problems.
Godliness is not a means of gain. “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 Tim 6:6-8). When we are living respectfully toward God and are content with what we have, it is “great gain.” God will supply our needs and we will have quieted our hunger for more. “But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires”(1 Tim 6:9). Riches are not the problem here, but the love of riches. Contentment is possible regardless of our financial state—but so is discontentment.
People in wealthy societies like ours always battle contentment because more possessions do not make us happy. We believe the lie that true peace lies around the next financial bend, after the next great purchase, or in the next tax bracket. God is right. Having a little—and being content with it—is where “great gain” is.
------------- One Thing to Think About: Am I content with what I have—in the life-station I am in—with all the difficulties and imperfections that I currently experience?
One Thing to Pray For: Me to come to terms with things as they are and find contentment