godliness with contentment is great gain
-- 1 Timothy 6: 6
I sometimes feel that all I do is not enough. I’m well aware that this is a lousy mindset for anyone in ministry, but this discontentment is real.
I recall my wife sharing with me at a very dark time the verse above. Her point was lost on me, but I couldn’t forget “contentment is great gain.” I struggled with contentment. How do I acquire it if all I did was not enough as a pastor and as a Christian?
When I would lead a congregation in The Great Thanksgiving portion of the Holy Communion sacrament I would swallow hard when I’d say the following:
Pour out your Holy Spirit on us gathered here and your gifts of bread and wine. Make them be for us the body and blood of Christ, that we may be for the world the body of Christ, redeemed by His blood.
-- The Great Thanksgiving, Service of Word and Table, United Methodist Hymnal
The idea of being for the world a part of the body of Christ redeemed by His blood bothered me because I never really felt I did enough to justify my place in the body of Christ.
In recent years, I’ve had significant experiences of God in my life. Through God’s grace, I’ve been encouraged to boldly go after the love and power of God in the Holy Spirit. I’ve always believed that I could experience God this way. In the last few years, I’ve actually experienced His power and love in my live in ways I’ll share in future posts.
When I look at 1 Timothy 6 now days I see godliness as a true reality for a Christian. Godliness grows in faith. Faith is the currency of heaven. Godliness with contentment (Gk - autarkeia “a perfect condition of life in which no aid or support is needed”) in great gain. Right standing with God coupled with the reality of a relationship with God where no aid is needed is true gain and fills me with great hope. Alleluia!
I am content with contentment, not by doing enough or by living with guilt as a motivating factor for doing more “Christ-like” stuff. By virtue of my experiences and encounters with God who is always good, I now declare such goodness boldly and share His godliness with others passionately.
Great God, pour out your Holy Spirit on your children this day so that we will be the body of Christ redeemed by His blood and share your goodness in all things and all times. We praise you and love you. Amen.