“But 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
In Chapter 1 (“Material World”) of Satisfied, Jeff Manion reports that recently he embarked on a project to give away 210 items (5 a day) over a six-week period. Some of the insights Pastor Manion gained were:
1. The reduction process was liberating. He felt richer for owning less.
2. He stopped using things long before he chucked them.
3. He wondered how much longer he could continue the process before he truly achieved simplicity.
Timothy, Pastor Manion notes, was serving the fourth most populous city of the Roman world- Ephesus. The agora (marketplace) of Ephesus was an expansive retail space, roughly the area of two football fields placed side-by-side. An epicenter of buying and selling, Ephesus had much the same consumer opportunity as we have. As the author points out, such prosperity can have a profound effect on our attitudes toward what we possess, what we need, and what we want.
Paul’s challenge to Timothy to live a lifestyle of contentment drew upon the logic of transience- not only will our stuff come and go, but so will we. Pastor Manion concludes by defining contentment:
“Contentment is the cultivation of a satisfied heart. It is the discipline of being fully alive to God and to others whatever our material circumstances.”
Today’s question: How might Jeff Manion’s definition of contentment alter your perception of your vocation loss? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “Finding life in the Giver”