Godliness leads to Contentment
“The fear of the Lord leads to life, and whoever has it rests satisfied; he will not be visited by harm.” (Proverbs 19:23)
“But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.” (1 Timothy 6:6-8)
Are you content right now, or do you wish you had different plans for the day? Are you glad that you spent your time yesterday as you did? Contentment is quite an accomplishment, given all the things on our “to do” lists and verbal harangues we inflict upon ourselves about what we ought to be doing. Life sometimes seems so complicated and demanding that we escape with TV, Netflix, Hulu, sports, books, shopping, partying, or eating because it’s all just too much. And that’s the problem…we want too much when less is better.
In “The Chronicles of Narnia, The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe,” the three children are trying to recuse their brother when they learn about the King of Narnia, Aslan, who is the only one who can help them. They were quite surprised to learn that the king wasn’t a man. “‘Aslan is a lion- the Lion, the great Lion.’ ‘Ooh’ said Susan. ‘I’d thought he was a man. Is he quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion’…‘Safe?’ said Mr. Beaver…‘Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King.’” (1) We want life to be safe, but we make it dangerous for ourselves when we crave possessions and the values of this world. We want God to be safe, and although it doesn’t feel that way to us, he is safe in that he will never cause us eternal harm. We do that to ourselves or let Satan have his way with us. The trials that Christians experience when not of their own doing, come from our perfect Savior. “All [a man’s] afflictions, his worst things, his evil ones: work together for his good; and they shall never separate from the love of God.” (2) (Romans 8:28) Having an eternal gospel perspective on life, with the fear of God, is the only way to be soul-satisfied.
“An eternal perspective helps believers to avoid the allure of greed, with the result that they are content with what God has given them, even if it consists of only food and clothing.” (3) In his commentary on 1 Timothy 6:6-8, Matthew Henry comments that nature is content with the barest of possessions, so we who have grace should be content with even less. (4)
In her book, The Envy of Eve, Melissa Kruger writes: “C. S. Lewis states the following, ‘Aim for heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim for earth and you get neither.’ How have you seen this principle work out in your own life? What does it look like to fully engage and live in this present world, while putting your hope in the next?” (5)
(1) Lewis, C. S. “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” HarperCollins, 2008
(2) John Gill’s Exposition on the Whole Bible, Proverbs 19:23, https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/proverbs-19.html
(3) ESV Study Bible Notes, 1 Timothy 6:7 note, (digital edition), Crossway, 2008.
(4) Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible, 1 Timothy 6:6, https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-concise/
(5) Kruger, Melissa, “The Envy of Eve,” Chapter 2 Questions, Christian Focus Publications, Fearn, Scotland, 2012.