But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing let us be with these things content. (1Timothy 6:6-8)
Godliness is the state of being godly (piety) while Contentment is the state of being contented (satisfied). Much of the world problem stem from the default fallen nature of man tending to be godless and covetous. The major root of sin (lust of the eyes, flesh and the pride of life) can be traced to godlessness and covetousness.
After examining life in totality, Paul conclude that coming into life and going out of life have no load whatsoever attached. Empty, man come into life and empty, man return to his maker. He sees it of no essence acquiring much more than is needed for sustenance. This is not to say that laziness is being encouraged. Even to acquire what is needed for sustenance require hard work. The family, church and society generally need resources for it’s sustainability therefore individual must work to meet these needs. The point of acquiring excess wealth and making wealth an idol is way beyond the threshold. God-given wealth is for the promotion of God’s kingdom purposes and so must be use for such.
Let us examine microscopically the major issues raised by Paul to Timothy in the text.
Godliness is translated here from the Greek “eusebeia”. It has its origin from “eusebēs” which means pius and dutiful. Eusebeia can be further explained by looking at it in two dimension as follows
1. Reverence: this is an act of veneration, profound awe and respect usually in a sacred context. It is even a form of address to some members of the clergy. This form of reverence can only be obtained by a sanctified life. Sanctification is the act of being separated for God’s use. You need to get to the point of surrendering all your totality to God. Allowing God’s priority to be paramount in your life. It is the God people see in your life that will make them give you the profound awe and respect.
2. Piety towards God: this addresses your devotion towards God. Godliness is not all about people giving you reverence, it’s about you practically devoted to God. Note that this devotion is not out of eye service or hypocritical devotion. It stem from a life that is conscious of the fact that all he possess including his breath is from God and therefore is willing to use it all to serve God. This is a life built on faith for without faith it is not possible to please God. This godliness obeys God no matter what, put God first in every circumstances.
Contentment is translated from the Greek “autarkeia”. It connote the following
1. A perfect condition of life in which no aid or support is needed: one will generally see this condition as being difficult to achieve. But this is basically adaptation. Every organism is created with the ability to adapt to changes in the environment. The world of microbes teaches us alot of lessons on adaptation. In coping with stress of life, some microbes form spores, develop attachment organs, breed fast and numerous offspring, change their way of feeding, have storage organs to store food for raining days etc. Unfortunately, many humans have developed negative adaptive system. The mindset of having something by all means have lure many away from the way of God. Contentment means you have to develop ways of depending on yourself, being satisfied with what you have and working in such away that you will not need to depend on others. Incase of any new developments that the individual is not prepared for, he learns to adapt. This means the individual believe that God will always make a way for his sustenance.
2. Sufficiency of the necessities of life: the necessities of life is outlined in verse8, food and clothing. Maybe perhaps you may add shelter to the list. This basically speak against amassing wealth. Sufficiency is enoughness, seeing the necessities of life as being adequate. Other things outside the necessities become secondary. Some persons make the secondary things of life as though they are primary and will do anything possible (including negative things) to get them. Unconsciously they make such things an idol. Idols make God jealous. Be sufficient with the necessities of life, if you are able to add others to it, glory be to God, if not, do not get involved in immoral act to acquire them.
3. A mind contented with its lots: man seems to always have aspirations. He never have his optimum. Wherever God places you, be contented with it. The challenge here is for people that always compare themselves with others. They want to be like others. You must realise that you are unique and God have a special plan for your life. There is need for you to be satisfied with whatever lot God have given you in life.
In conclusion, to attain godliness, one must be sanctified and live daily to please God. Contentment can be achieved by knowing God’s plan for your life, knowing that all you have and can ever have comes from God. The place of the Holy Spirit can not be overemphasized in living a life of Godliness and Contentment.
1. Let God deliver you from the spirit of godlessness and covetousness.
2. May God help you to live a sanctified life.
3. Let the Holy Spirit help you to achieve God’s plan for your life.