But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. 1 Timothy 6:6
Being a workaholic isn’t my life struggle. I’ve always simply preferred to be at home with my wife and children. I’ve often found myself at work, wishing the day was over so I could go be with them. I like my job, but when I’m there, I frequently just want to go home. Earlier this summer, I was fortunate enough to have a couple of weeks of vacation, spending that time with my family. While away from work though, I found myself thinking, I need to get back. I have so much to do. I need to quit spending money and go make some. It was irritating to me that I was discontent both while at work and while on vacation. Several times lately, I’ve had to force myself to consciously choose to be content in the moment – at work and at home – not constantly wishing for something else.
Many of us find ourselves here, never happy simply with where we are and what we have. Often, our discontent revolves around money and stuff. If only I had a bigger house, a nicer car, and a little more money to pay the bills, I’d be happy. It’s not wrong to have money and stuff, but in today’s passage, Paul pointed out that true contentment doesn’t come from our money and stuff.
In the passage, he said that authentic contentment is found only in our relationship with God. We may find temporary satisfaction or gratification in money and toys, but those things don’t last. As Paul pointed out, we can’t take anything with us in the end. He’d discovered that the secret to being content was in realizing that our strength, hope, and joy comes only from knowing the father (Philippians 4:11-13). Money, possessions, and situation simply can’t make us happy. To find authentic joy, we must know God.
Contentment isn’t something we can simply decide we have though. We can’t just make ourselves joyful by telling ourselves we’re joyful when we’re actually miserable. To find joy in our relationship with God, we must daily invest in that relationship – reading, praying, meditating, following, and obeying him. Seeking God doesn’t necessarily mean we will have more money or fewer life trials. Knowing God simply means we can know joy and contentment – even in the trials of life.