Hypocrisy Without Contentment

You know that old saying, “be careful not to point a finger at someone else; you have three pointing back at you”? That came to mind this morning reading 1 Timothy 6. Here’s what happened.

I was reading this section:

     Teach and urge these things. [3] If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, [4] he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, [5] and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain. [6] But godliness with contentment is great gain, [7] for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. [8] But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. [9] But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. [10] For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.
[11] But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.
(1 Timothy 6:2-11 ESV)

It struck me in this passage how clearly God’s Word contradicts the popular teachings of so-called “Prosperity Gospel” preachers—those who put great emphasis on what they call “the law of faith” and teach that God will and wants to give to you whatever “you believe Him for”. I once had a well-meaning friend who was grieved because of our financial struggle. He sincerely believed that God wanted us to be free of money worries and that we simply lacked faith to receive God’s material blessing. This morning I saw again how clearly God’s Word speaks against setting our sights on financial prosperity. Verse 8 is key: “But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.”

And that’s when the other three fingers pointed back at me. I saw my own hypocrisy for being critical of people who believe the name-it-and-claim-it, speak-it-and-keep-it, blab-it-and-grab-it ( though I myself feel no desire to be rich) while at the same time I am not “content” with food and clothing”. I want my house in Alberta to sell, so that one day I might be able to buy a home in Victoria where we live. I may not want to be rich according to the standard of what I think of by the word “rich”, but I have trouble seeing that I am rich in that God has blessed me with a home to live in, food on the table, healthy, happy, Christ-loving children, and most of all a godly wife.

So my prayer is this: “God, teach me, ‘with these to be content’ (1 Tim 6:8b).”