But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. – 1 Tim 6:6-8
Have you ever found yourself in that moment where you are thinking, “I could be happy if only I had…?” If only you could have or get this one thing. It could be anything from the extraordinary to the mundane. A new car to a new book. Maybe, like the Israelites, just a better menu of food options. Paul says that all we need is godliness and contentment. He goes on to say that all we need is food and clothing. He may be oversimplifying this because we would also need shelter. Columbia all weather jackets didn’t exist when Paul wrote this. We would need to have somewhere to get in out of the cold and rain. But Paul’s point is not to accumulate material things, no matter how valuable they are, for we brought nothing into this world and we can take nothing with us. My own father died at just age 55 naked in the shower. His life of working two jobs meant nothing at that point, and he certainly took nothing with him. I have spent much time in Africa with people who have nothing. Living in a grass hut, with one set of clothing and eating millet porridge or rice every day, with maybe some fish or a skinny chicken. And yet, I find that they are far more content than most Americans. Years ago, when my wife and I were at a low time in our finances and I was in seminary, our dishwasher died. I complained to God, “why is this happening God, I am giving up everything to serve you.” But we just learned to live without a dishwasher. My wife would wash the dishes, I would dry them and put them away, and our small children would play on the floor under our feet. We actually grew to enjoy the family time and grew quite content with it. It was then, once we were content, that God stepped in and gave us a dishwasher. Now some people might be thinking, “yeah a dishwasher is cute, but my situation is so much more serious.” And it well may be, but the principle is the same. Paul’s command applies to every situation and every circumstance. Be content! Jesus wants all our focus to be in Him, regardless of what we have or don’t have. If things are getting in the way, or would get in the way, I believe Jesus will even keep them from us.
So how to do I learn to be content. Practice simplicity, simplify your life as best you can. Also try fasting, you can fast anything. But try a complete water only fast for a few days.
But most important find your satisfaction in Jesus! For Jesus is always content, there is no anxiousness in Him.