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Truly Essential

February 6th, 2009

“Godliness with contentment is great gain.” 1 Timothy 6:6 NIV

“A fool throws away what is forever, for the pleasure or possession of what is temporary.”

My thoughts today are about what is “truly essential.”

Let’s continue our discussion from yesterday about contentment. Few things contribute as much to your sense of well being as the simple act of being contented. And the best thing is that contentment never depends on anyone or anything, except you. You determine your level of contentment. Everything about life is not that way, but it is true about living a contented life. Contentment is something that you choose, and learn. See Philippians 4:11-13 TEV.

Everyone is interested in gain – getting ahead, getting promoted, getting recognized, getting better, getting more! Some people live their whole lives driven by the very mistaken assumption that more is the path to enough. Sometimes less can be enough, if you learn what is truly essential! That’s when and where you are contented. God will be at the center of that every time.

Paul’s advice to the young man, Timothy, was that “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.” 1 Timothy 6:6-8 NIV. You will be tempted to fill your life with what is ultimately stuff – good stuff, fun stuff, expensive stuff, but still just stuff. For a while that seems enough, and then when it is not enough, we want more stuff. But that doesn’t work either. Real contentment will never be lasting until and unless it touches what is eternal.

As a pastor, I have often been with people facing the end of their lives. I have never known anyone who wanted to be surrounded with their “stuff” as the day drew near. Focus changes from things that once meant something to family and friends who always remain meaningful to one’s life. And I have never met anyone nearing the end of their life who regretted having lived with a real and personal faith, but have known many who regretted not having done so. God is the one truly essential experience and relationship of your life.

Contentment is good; don’t live your life without it. But God’s Word says there is something even more, “Godliness with contentment is great gain.” If God is not at the center of what most satisfies you, you have not found the greatest of gain. With things you can feel contented; with God you will be contented, now and forever.

Only a fool throws away something that is forever for the temporary pleasure or possession of things that are just for now. That is the worst mistake you could ever make. See Hebrews 11:25-26 NIV. Don’t leave out the one thing that is truly essential, your personal relationship with Jesus.

My prayer for you today is: keep God in your heart; you will always have enough

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