“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.”
— 1 Timothy 6:6-7
Do you ever feel caught up in “keeping up with the Joneses”? Do you often feel a twinge of jealousy when a neighbor or friend shows off a new purchase, or are you content with what you own?
Many people are in love with this world’s goods whether they have them or not. I think of a man who started out well. He succeeded in business. He lived his life as John Wesley encouraged: “Make all you can, save all you can, give all you can.” This man tithed regularly, and God blessed him as he did so.
But as this man became more and more prosperous, he found tithing more and more difficult. One day he came to Peter Marshall, the famous Senate chaplain of decades ago, and said, “Dr. Marshall, I have a problem. I’ve tithed now for some time. It wasn’t too bad when I made $20,000 a year. I could afford to give the $2,000. But, you see, doctor, I now make $500,000 a year, and there’s just no way I can afford to give away $50,000 a year.”
Dr. Marshall said, “Yes, sir. I see that you do have a problem. I think we ought to pray about it. Dear Lord, this man has a problem, and I pray that you will help him. Lord, reduce his salary back to the place where he can afford to tithe.”
This man started out having mastery over things, but ultimately things had mastery over him. Maybe you know someone like this man . . . maybe it’s you.
Money makes a wonderful servant but a terrible lord. Yet many people are completely enslaved by it. They give all their thoughts to money. If they’re not thinking about how to get more of it, they’re thinking of how to hold on to what they have. That is a form of slavery.
Many people have lived in small cottages and managed to gain very little of this world’s goods. Yet their hearts were fixed upon God. Some Christians are poor; some are wealthy. The important thing is “godliness with contentment.” These two combined are “great gain.”
Are you the master of your money and possessions, or are they your master? If you find that the latter is true, pray that God will reverse that trend, and then watch as He answers your prayers.