1 Timothy 6:6-8. 6 But godliness with contentment is great gain, 7 for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. 8 But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.
Greed is one of those sins that’s everybody else’s problem, but never our own. The truth is that most of us probably don’t consider ourselves to be greedy. The idea of being greedy evokes pictures of people like Scrooge, Boss Tweed, or those birds from Finding Nemo that just say Mine! Mine! Mine! all the time.
As long as there are people that are richer than me I will never be greedy. Jeff Bezos is greedy. Not me. I’m not rich enough to be greedy. We all know the Bible says, “Money is the root of all evil.” And I don’t have much money so I must not be evil.
Except that the Bible actually says, “The LOVE of money is a root of all kinds of evil.” And anyone, rich or poor, can love money. So let’s take a step back and look at our hearts a bit more deeply shall we?
And to the heart is exactly where Paul takes Timothy – But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. Greed is about what you love. What you desire. It is about being discontented. Never satisfied with what God has given you. This is why in Ephesians 5:5 Paul calls greed idolatry. The greedy person has a false view of God. Most likely we see God as a withholder rather than a giver. And when this happens we start to pursue our own treasure, rather than the treasure of Christ.
The warning then is not just about wealth accumulation, it’s about worship. Greed, like all sins, is a worship problem. It’s a faith problem. Which then becomes a love problem. The discontented person will fail to love. Why? Because they will be completely self-focused, chasing after whatever it takes to fill their empty heart. Including the love of money.
So what are you chasing after today? Is it money? Is it stuff? Can you identify the greed in your life (yes, it’s there)? How do you spend your money? What are you saving up for? Have you given anything away lately? Where are you discontent? What do you covet?
OK, but identifying our greed is only the first step to wholeness. What is the cure for greed? Paul gives us this simple greed crushing equation: godliness + contentment = great gain.
Are you living within great gain? Are these the words you would use to describe your life? Your “current situation.” Maybe not. For most of us there is always “more” just around the corner. But when we get to the place of seeing our lives in Christ as great gain, then we will be satisfied. Then we will be finally be content. Then our lives can finally be a living sacrifice unto God.
But how do we get to a life of great gain?
Godliness – the display of the glory and majesty of God in and through our lives. That’s godliness. But not a false godliness found in piety or self-denial. Godliness isn’t simply a form of morality. Look at how Paul defines godliness back in chapter 3.
1 Timothy 3:16. Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness:
[Christ] was manifested in the flesh,
vindicated by the Spirit,
seen by angels,
proclaimed among the nations,
believed on in the world,
taken up in glory.
The incarnate, justified, verified, testified, and glorified Son of God is alive in the world. And this is the mystery of godliness – he’s alive in us! More specifically the resurrection power of Christ is alive in us. We share in his vindication and glorification. Now, in him, godliness isn’t something we do, it’s something we are.
Contentment – and his life in us is the source of all true contentment. Contentment is the trusting in, or appropriating of our godliness in Christ. Contentment is what we do in light of who we are. So do you really believe that the resurrected and glorified Jesus lives in you? Then why would you need anything more? Why would you covet? Why be greedy? Why call God a hoarder? Find contentment in him, whether brought low or abounding, you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength. The strength of godliness. The strength of resurrection power!
Great gain – now we have found the real joy of godliness + contentment. The peace of trusting our Heavenly Father in all things and allowing our lives to reflect his own. The security of needing nothing while having everything. Now we can live every day in the great gain of “to live is Christ.”
Are you content? Or are you greedy?
You in Christ
in Christ you are godly. Can you explain this?
Christ in you
How might you live your life today as though you live in “great gain.” What complaints might stop? What giving might begin?
Playlist: Content in Christ.