“And if we have food and covering, with these we shall be content” (1 Timothy 6:8).
God wants believers’ lives to be simplified, free from the burdens of material cares.
Today’s verse declares how Christians ought to be free from material distractions. The apostle Paul asserts that life’s basic needs should be adequate to satisfy believers. He does not say it is wrong to own nice things, especially if God providentially allows you to have them. What is wrong is to have a selfish craving for money because you are discontent. The highest goal of the Christian life is to love God and glorify Him forever, not to pile up material goods. Even if you have wealth, the Lord wants you to use and manage it from a motivation that puts God first.
The problem you and I continually face is that our fast-paced, complex, technological societies place materialism first. Objects and things come before people; entertainment options replace conversations with members of our family. All this has so often caused us to lose the simple joys of life’s relationships, which are the essence of Christian fellowship.
To keep those simple but essential joys primary, I’d invite you to apply the following principles. I’ve found them helpful in keeping my own life simplified and free from materialism.
First, evaluate every purchase as to how it would make your ministry more effective.
Second, since God owes you nothing, everything you receive from Him should make you thankful.
Third, learn to distinguish wants from needs, and thereby increase the amount of money you have available for the Lord.
Fourth, discipline yourself to spend less than you earn and save the rest for worthwhile causes and needs that arise. Do not amass credit card debt.
Lastly, learn to give sacrificially to God’s kingdom.
If you implement these and other sound principles of Christian stewardship, you’ll experience much joy and realize anew that the simple life means accepting what God provides and avoiding covetousness.
Suggestions for Prayer
Pray that God would motivate you to be faithful in the five principles of good stewardship listed in the lesson. If you have not been following any of them, ask the Lord to help you start today.
For Further Study
- Matthew 6:24-33 is one of Jesus’ clearest statements on living the simple life. Is His discussion comprehensive? How so?
- Write down two or three ways in which you can seek His kingdom first.