Contentment: Focusing upon the Eternal rather than Temporal. 1 Timothy 6:3-19
“If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.”
Which would you choose, the immediate promise of a small, dilapidated but livable house or the promise of your dream home if you would be willing to live in a camp trailer for a year? Today it is not uncommon for a person to live in a camp trailer while they wait for their dream house to be build. They are content to live in the confines of the RV because they know a short-term solution eventually leads to a long-term dream. When given the choice of houses, only a fool would choose the immediate house over the promise of the future dream house. While we quickly recognize the folly of choosing the immediate benefit over the long-term investment, often, when it comes to our relationship with God and the blessing he desires to bestow upon us, we chose the immediate over the long-term. When we stop to compare the span of our present life in light of eternity, our life is nothing more than a mere speck of dust on the time continuum, yet the whole focus of our life is upon the pursuit of present pleasures and rewards.
It is this contrast that Paul is pointing us towards in 1 Timothy 6. On the one hand we find the false teachers who see the gospel as a means of obtaining immediate gains. They strive for popularity by compromising the truth and preaching a message driven by what people want to hear (2 Timothy 4:2). Instead of striving to preach the gospel, they seek to undermine the authority of scripture by introducing controversial disputes and questions. Their motivation is not the glory of God and the pursuit of righteousness, but their own financial gain. They are driven by the pursuit of their own agenda rather than the calling of God to proclaim the life-transforming gospel. They pursue the short-term gain, see gospel as a means of obtaining present rewards.
In contrast to the false teacher, Paul points us in a different direction. Paul reminds us of the temporary and transitory nature of all things in this present age. The reality of life is that in the end we leave with the same things that we brought into this world: Nothing. Instead of focusing upon the present we are to keep our focus upon the eternal. In verse 18 and 19 Paul reminds us to focus on becoming rich “in good works, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed.” Instead of being driven by the attainment of the things of this life, our focus is to be upon the attainment of that which is eternal for that is where real life is fully discovered. The key to contentment is found in a different focus and priority of life. It is being willing to live in the RV while our eternal home is being prepared. True gain is not found in the present circumstances, but in the development of genuine godliness, for it is godliness that brings the eternal gain. The things of this world, which seem so important to us, in the end become empty, devoid of any real meaning and significance. What really matter is our relationship with God and the pursuit of his righteousness, for there is were real and lasting significance and contentment is found. If you are not content in life, it may be because you are striving for the wrong things.