15 July 2015

1 Timothy 6:6-19

“But as for you, man of God, shun all this; pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness.” (v. 11)

Psalm: Psalm 42


We live in an age of discontent, though I'm not sure really if it wasn't ever thus. I have lost count of how many diets I have been on, how many times I have bought into the lie that reading this book would make me smarter, that using this new product would make me more beautiful. Because, the advertisers tell me, 'I'm worth it.'

For all the benefits it gives its members, a capitalist society like ours breeds discontent as a way of keeping the money in circulation. The more we become aware of our failings and inadequacies, the more we try to plug the gaps with stuff, to build our security - and even our identities - on what we own. Society tells us that to be content with one's lot is to stand still, to stop striving to have or be something better, somehow to settle for less.

And yet in today's passage the author speaks of contentment as the beginning of our striving - though it's a striving of a very different nature from what we might be used to. He is in no doubt that earning a lot of money is hard work, but that it inevitably brings you back to where you began - discontent. Instead, he says, if we begin from a place of true contentment - finding our identity and security in Christ - we are set free to strive for the things that really matter and that will never disappoint: righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness. In chasing after these things we are not seeking to fill a void or to fix ourselves, but simply to allow God's love for us to overflow into our world.


To Ponder

  • What makes you feel content with life? What can you live without?
  • What are you striving for? Why?

Bible notes author

Anna Drew

Anna Drew is Director of Communications for the Diocese of Canterbury. She is a regular contributor to BBC Radio 4's Daily Service and Prayer for the Day and a freelance writer on faith issues.