Roger's Postings

Saturday, January 20, 2018

1 Timothy 6:6-10.                             Godliness with contentment!!!                                  21/1/18

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

Here this morning as we celebrate Harvest Thanksgiving we reflect on the many earthly gifts that God has given to us. There is so much for us to be thankful for. We in this nation are in some ways living in ‘the lucky country’. We are very well off and have luxuries that for many in our world it is simply beyond their wildest imaginations.

Yet, on the other hand this wealth has become our ruination. We have come to focus solely on this wealth and materialism, that it is fast leading to our downfall. What does God say here in this reading? The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

That which is good – and virtually that is everything that we have, is good and wonderful – but it has become evil for so many – perhaps all of us. The desire has become to have more and more – no matter the cost. Here again we are prepared to bend the rules and do what it takes to have more. Seemingly hopeful that it will make us happy.

Our obsession to have more and more is causing all kinds of problems and disasters. We have pierced ourselves with all kinds of griefs. The focus is on the ‘goodies’ and not the giver. It is the things, that are seen as central to our well-being, and so has become our downfall. We feel that we are entitled to have all that we want; so, when we don’t have it or it doesn’t give us the enjoyment and contentment we believe should be there, we despair.

Even though we have so much, we are not content. No matter how much we have, it is not giving us the happiness that we long for and are promised that it will give us. We then go chasing this that and the other, hoping against hope that one of the ‘goodies’ is going to be the answer. In the end we despair and give up on life altogether, existing from day to day, trying to blot out our grief and failure.

So what Paul says here is readily seen in our world today: Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.

When are we going to wake up that it is not the things in themselves that will make life for us. They are blessing, they are good, but something more is needed. Only when we have this other ‘something’ that the ‘goodies’ have their appropriate place and become blessings rather than curses. Then whether we have much or little we have the contentment and happiness that is needed.

Here in this reading we are pointed to this something. But godliness with contentment is great gain. This is strongly stated as the answer to life and our attitude to what we have in life. Only here we gain what is really needed for life, everything else is a bonus; and everything else finds its proper place. Godliness with contentment is what is need at the heart of life for each and every one of us.

Here we are reminded that these two things are important as we look to the gifts that we have in life, whether they be many or few. Godliness together with contentment is what is needed. We can’t have one without the other. If you have one you will have the other.

So first of all, what then is this godliness? The Word in itself gives us a major clue - godliness – ‘God in us.’ It cannot be God-like, for not one of us in our very best efforts can come anywhere near being Like God. If we are to simply strive to be like God, we will continually come up short and so be more grieved, discontent and unhappy than ever. Our selfishness and sin will mean that we are unable to be like God. We just cannot achieve that by our own efforts. Then we are left devastated

So, for us to be godly, we need to have God in us. For that to happen we need to repent – we need to recognise that we are sinful and unclean and to then seek God and his help. God cannot live in us if we are constantly seeking to live by and for ourselves. God and sin cannot dwell in the same place. It is one or the other.

Now thankfully God in his mercy sent Jesus the Christ into our world to take God’s wrath against us and our sin, on Himself to the cross. There he was punished in our place, and made forgiveness of sins and God’s acceptance possible. So there alone in Jesus Christ is our hope and any chance of being godly found.

Then we also find that he has given us baptism so that we can be joined to Jesus Christ and all that he has won for us. There at the baptismal font he washed us clean from our sin and made it possible for himself live within us. There he gave us His own Spirit to help us to believe in him and to give us all the help we need in order for this godliness to be there in our lives.

This Spirit is there constantly seeking to remind of Jesus Christ and all that he has done for us, and that he is with us always. His main resource for this is His Word and the Sacraments. As we avail ourselves of these means we are reassured, over and over again, of this godliness that is now ours.

In this way God is in us and we thereby have the fullness of all that God is and all that we need for this life and the next. We also then have the assurance that God knows what is good and right for us, here in the midst of this sinful world that we live in. He knows what is good for us and what is harmful for us. Whether that be wealth or poverty.

If it is wealth and plenty, he is there in our lives to guide us to thankfulness and the wisdom to use this wealth for good. As well as to not be obsessed by and focussed merely on it. Instead to use it all in the way that he would have, rather than for our own selfish purposes. Then these gifts are a wonderful blessing for all.

If on the other hand we have little, we still know that God is with us and will sustain us through this life. He will see us through and give us the strength to cope with life as it is. We know there is a purpose for it being as it is, and in the end, we are still richly blest with eternal life in heaven. So, we can be content.

So together then with godliness, contentment is right there as a gift also from this God in us. With God in us working for good, we can be content in all circumstances. We can rest assured that he is taking care of everything for ours and others eternal welfare. Instead of striving and grieving for what we might think we need, he is there with us see us through whatever is before us. We are also content that our eternal future is in his hand so we can go forward boldly and confidently no matter whether we have little or plenty.

For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. God will see to it that all the rest will be taken care of. So we have much to be thankful for.

So, as we look around us at all the good and wonderful things we have in our lives we put them all in their proper perspective. We see them as gifts of God there for good, rather than object that we have to have in order to have and enjoy life for our own status and wellbeing.

The amount that we have does not equate with happiness and contentment in themselves. Nor do they indicate that we are blest by God in having them. If they are our obsession and desire and the acquisitions of our evil schemes, they will lead to downfall. If they become our ‘god’ we will reap the rewards of ruin and destruction.

Instead let us strive to have godliness with contentment so that these things can be blessings instead of curses – good instead of bad. Because this godliness with contentment has come into our lives, let us see to it that we do not bury it, push it aside and reject it, by focussing on the things rather than the giver.

God in us is the most important thing in life for us, so may his Spirit ever lead us and guide us to be where we are reminded of this over and over again. For it is so easy for us to be distracted by the things and the world around us, to think that is things that make for life and happiness.

Jesus Christ and his guaranteed presence with us is the only thing that is of true importance and assurance of peace, hope eternal life. So, to him then be all glory and honour, now and always. AMEN.

Pastor Roger Atze

Glandore/Underdale Lutheran Parish


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