“We miss contentment if something other than food, clothing, and shelter becomes essential to our physical lives.” —Charles R. Swindoll
Contentment is so valuable because it’s so rare. It doesn’t rain down like loonies from heaven—in fact, money may be the hindrance to contentment, though it need not be. The trick is to possess it regardless of your possessions.
We all agree contentment is the key to happiness. We just don’t want to go through what we have to go through to learn it. This is what Paul meant when he said he had learned to be content in whatever circumstances (Philippians 4:11). Learning is hard. Here are three surefire ways to miss contentment found in 1 Timothy 6.
- You’ll miss contentment if something other than food, clothing, and shelter becomes essential
- You’ll miss contentment if your thoughts are consumed with having more money
- You’ll miss contentment if keeping money rather than releasing it becomes your goal in life
A good way to think about contentment is Christ-sufficiency, not self-sufficiency.
The context from Paul’s instructions on living contented lives centres on false teachers who believed ministry was a means of financial gain (1 Timothy 6:5). Therefore, Paul’s focus has to do with people in the ministry first and all believers second, especially the rich. Out of these two general concerns arise four specific themes: contentment and godliness (6:6), contentment and possessions (6:7–8), contentment and riches (6:9–10, 17), and contentment and character (6:18–19).
Brainstorm specific ways you can guard against missing the joy of contentment as you pursue your life and financial goals.
“Contentment…and How to Miss It” is from Chuck Swindoll’s series Excellence in Ministry: Finishing Well—Doing What’s Best in the Challenges of Ministry, A Study of 1 Timothy 4–6. You can stream this message online anytime at insightforliving.ca/audiolibrary.