Dear Church Family,
In his letter to young Timothy, the Apostle Paul says: “Godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Timothy 6:6). Contentment. What a wonderful word, one that I would like to experience more frequently in my life. To be content with who God has created me to be. To be content with what God has given me to do. To be content with what God has given me to use. To be content with what I have. How do I increase my level of contentment?
Notice what Paul says next to Timothy: “For we brought nothing into this world, and we can take nothing out of it” (1 Timothy 6:7). One thing that Paul is clearly stressing is that our material possessions, our “stuff,” will not make us content.
When God created us, he separated us from the rest of his creation by giving us a sense of destiny, a need for meaning in our existence. In so doing, he instilled in us the need to be drawn to something greater than ourselves and the things we can accumulate.
But human pride wants us to believe that we are the masters of our destiny. God’s eternal plan fades as we try to make something of ourselves, to prove our worth, to attain the applause of others. Messages from the media assure us that we can be a little better than we are. Keeping up with the Joneses becomes an obsession. The lie that our homes, our cars, our jobs, our clothes, and even our recreation can provide contentment contradicts God’s design for making us truly content.
Jesus once said that my heart would be where my treasure is (Matthew 6:21). He said that it is much more important to store up treasures in heaven than here on earth. What good advice if I want to live with contentment. To store up treasures in heaven rather than on earth means I won’t have to worry that my treasures will break or be stolen or destroyed. And heavenly treasures will greet me when I arrive; my stuff on earth will be lost.
Heavenly treasures are things that last forever. According to the Bible, only two things are eternal: God’s Word (Isaiah 40:8) and people (Revelation 22:5).
How do I invest in God’s Word? By studying it, applying it to my life, teaching it to others, allowing it to transform my life.
How do I invest in people? By loving them, showing Christ to them, helping them in their faith, encouraging them to allow God to transform their lives.
If you like the idea of storing up heavenly treasures instead of earthly stuff, here are some ideas for your heavenly treasure chest:
- The fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23)
- People with whom you have shared the good news of Jesus Christ (Mark 16:15)
- Children you’ve loved and cared for, and widows you’ve “adopted” as grandmas (James 1:27)
- Lives that have been touched by your encouragement (Ephesians 4:29)
- Worn-out, read-through Bibles, full of your own study notes (2 Timothy 2:15)
These are the kinds of treasure that lead to contentment – let’s start storing them up.
Yours in Christ,