Thankfulness – Contentment – JOY

 

 

 “Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.” (1Timothy 6:6-8 ESV)

 

 

 

The old mentor Paul wrote a young leader named Timothy the words we see above.  Paul wrote to Timothy using the tone of a father instructing a son.  He even called Timothy his “child of the faith.”  As most mentors do, we transfer those values that we care most for if we really want to nurture the person we mentor. There are obviously a multitude of subjects we can mentor another person on from philosophy to pragmatics, from form to function, from what and how we do something to why we do it.  It depends on what the mentor and learner value the most. I think Paul was cutting to the chase with extraneous issues that Timothy faced and went to the heart of what matters the most.  What matters the most?  It would be the bottom line in life, wouldn’t it.  It is not how we get what we want, but rather that we will one day see our self in that place.  Let me explain:

 

When I grew up as child and into young adulthood, like most young people I wanted to get ahead in life.  In my mind, at the time, I thought I had a long way to go, for my father was a laborer and we lived a life consistent with his level of income. I saw the hard way he had to provide for his family, and the sacrifices my mother made to stay at home and raise the children of our family.  In the end we made it and made it marvelously.  There was laughter and tears, dreams dashed, and dreams realized. My family had all of those things without the need for riches.  But life was very difficult, and, in my mind, I wanted better for my life without the bad parts.  My thinking was that there was only one way to make life better.  It would require more money, more pleasures, more things, and greater fame.  We call that perspective the Great American Dream, right?  But this dream and this pursuit in general begs that a question be answered.  Do these things really make life better?  Do we gain that elusive target of an inner peace and contentment by propping it up by our financial achievements?  Do the things of this world really help us find a genuine contentment in life?  Is there a better way that we don’t generally hear about that doesn’t require those things mentioned?  Yes, there is a better way.  I know it, and in fact those other things often lead us away from that inner peace and contentment with life that we deep down seek.

 

I’ve been close enough to my early goal of a “better life” by way of financial gain to find that those things did not provide that inner peace and joy I wanted. I’ve been close enough to those people who would be called super rich to observe the same with them.  Money and things will not give us the deep-down fulfillment we long for. What we see as a means to an end is a false message and actually becomes a hindrance to the very thing we desire. I believe this is the message Paul was giving to Timothy in the scripture above, as he mentored him. 

 

How would Paul know this?  It is because he had known those things personally before Christ came into his life.  When that happened Paul realized that fame and fortune is an illusion, an idol, and dependency on those things to find our security, safety and significance becomes a deterrent to finding where the real answer lies.   That is why he wrote:

 

“I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him.”  (Philippians 3:7-9 NLT)

 

Paul was doing that which good mentors do with Timothy. He was imploring him to not waste his life on the pursuit of things that would become distractions in his journey to the real Treasure waiting for him.  Likewise, this old mentor writing this blog will do the same.  I tell you the truth that I have found the Treasure of the Universe and it has not been because of what I earned or purchased but rather by what I gave up.  I gave up the illusion that this world can provide me the deep down joyful contentment and significance that only God can give me.  I discovered it is only from Him.   But I have also discovered that we must give up the illusion that we can find it elsewhere, and to abide in Him to find the benefits.

 

As a result of a lifetime of discoveries on the subject, today I live by a simple perspective concerning life.  It is to live thankfully and contently with the life Jesus has chosen for me.  To simply, but truthfully, walk with Him and not allow hindrances in the way of our fellowship.  By doing this I recognize almost daily how intricately and dynamically He is involved with everything I do.  This recognition creates an overwhelming thankfulness, and this leads to a joy that I don’t think I can describe.  Like Paul did, I want to pass along my personal experience so that you too can be led to the Treasure that is waiting for you.

 

The Treasure can be found, for He wants to be found. He is waiting.  What are you waiting for?