Recently, I have been thinking much about being content. The Bible verse “And be content with such things as you have,” keeps popping into my mind. I try to be content, but it just doesn’t come naturally! I often wish for more, and stress about meeting financial deadlines, but, in theory, I am content with the money and physical things I have. In theory, I know I am blessed far beyond what I deserve, and that what possessions I tend to take for granted, others in the world see as great wealth.

But in practice…in practice, I am a complainer. I stress about financial matters, tend to get worked up about not having what I think I need, and often forget to have an attitude of gratitude. I know that there is no reason to do so, that God has proved Himself capable of meeting my every need, so the stress usually only lasts a few hours or even minutes.

Where am I going with all this? Well, today in church, I read 1 Timothy 6: 1-10 and was struck with verse 6: “Godliness with contentment is great gain.”  I have read this verse many times before, but somehow, I never noticed the context in which it was written. In 1 Timothy 5, Paul is writing instructions to bond servants, or slaves. He is teaching them that they should be respectful of their masters, and use their slavery as an opportunity to honor God by providing a good testimony to their masters. Right after this section specifically addressed to slaves are some verses about false teachers, and how they see “godliness” as a means for financial gain.  Anyway, the verse about godliness with contentment is given in the context of slavery and proves that even slaves could be content. They had nothing – not even themselves. But because the value of godliness totally surpasses any physical wealth or gain, even slaves could be content in God. Not that this excuses slavery by any means, but it struck me as I read it, that when God asks me to be content, He not only gives me plenty to be content with, He expects me to be fully content in Him without the physical “stuff” I typically think I need.

I used to commonly think that, yes, contentment is good, and I should and would be content…as soon as I got such and such a thing. Or that we should always be content with moderation, or the “average,” but the thought never really took hold of me that we should be content no matter what our circumstances are. Because if God is true to His word and never changes, and if He is able to meet all our needs (spiritual and physical) our true status never changes – we are always rich in Him!

Paul wrote lots more on contentment (“For I have learned to be content in all things…”), and it is all equally good, but this little verse just stuck out for me today.