“And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.” (1Timothy 6:8)
The Apostle Paul makes several observations about contentment as he writes to his son in the faith Timothy. He tells this young pastor that some believe godliness should lead to gain. We still have people in the church who believe that way. Those who preach what is known as the prosperity theology proclaim that if you are godly you should also be healthy and wealthy. Paul considers that a heresy and proclaims that godliness with contentment is great gain.
Paul also writes that some believe great gain will lead to great contentment. He warns that those who will to be rich can fall into temptations and harmful lusts that can lead to their spiritual destruction. He then observes that the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Observe that he does not write that money itself is that root of evil.
It is not sinful or wrong to be wealthy. Believers can experience the blessing of God on them in the form of great wealth because they are faithful stewards and God can trust them with money. But Timothy is to flee a love of money and a will to be rich in pursuit of contentment and pursue the godliness that will bring contentment here and blessing hereafter.
What did it take to bring contentment to Paul? Paul drew the line at food and clothing. He did not even include shelter. (Perhaps that was because he spent so much time in prison.)
What does it take to bring you contentment? Are your ambitions and expectations Biblical expectations and ambitions?
We could paraphrase what Paul wrote here and in what may be his prescription for contentment: “He who lives content with little possesses everything!”