1 Timothy 6:6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.
These 7 words have me pondering for days. But the same Paul said in Philippians 4:11 to be content in whatever the circumstances, so should we retreat to accept and be complacent with whatever situation we are in so that we could stay safe and avoid failures and mistakes? No. We need to understand the whole context of the chapter in the bible without cherry picking according to what we would like to hear.
Contentment is a great virtue but when it is an ungodly contentment, it becomes a bottleneck and a sin in our lives. Ungodly contentment refers to laziness, being stuck in the comfort zone, no desire in life and having the fear to take risks. The fear of failure which daunts most people in our present world. So, should we be discontent so that we are not trapped in the above situations? Yes we should be discontent with the above and any sins but we need to be cautious with ungodly discontentment too. This is getting confusing.
I am not a theologian but through studying God's words, I began to understand that ungodly discontentment usually associates with the hunger for worldly idolatry. We constantly long for better possessions, appearances, status and wealth that it becomes an unbreakable cycle of chasing for next one up that we become enslaved by the things that will perish and will never ever satisfy our hearts and souls. We are discontent because we subject ourselves to comparisons and competitions which are rooted in jealousy, contemptuous, self righteous, insecurity, pride, entitlement and unhealthy cultural pressure and pagan practices (1 Timothy 6:4-5, 9-10, 17-21).
Godly contentment opposes ungodly contentment and rejects worldly discontentment at the same time. It calls for God's children to fulfil their purposes in life so that God's glory may be revealed. Being obedient and humble to God's calling for our lives are never easy and often involves risks and troubles but God repeatedly promises us in the bible that we need to trust His plans and that He will never forsake us. It is through accepting His calling that we can experience extraordinary lives and witnessing other lives transformed (1 Timothy 6:6, 11-12). While we walk the journey with God, no matter how bumpy the ride will be, it makes us content with Him as godly contentment leads us to heavenly riches and godly success which we can never experience with worldly approaches in life. The journey strengthens our faith at the same time as we pray relentlessly for his grace that brings daily renewals of hope. Imagined Paul who was in prison did not display any bitterness towards God for allowing him to be imprisoned but on the contrary, he exhibited humility, joy and hope which impacts others including the prison guards that God's glory was projected so brightly. No doubt Paul said godliness with contentment is great gain. Amen!