In direct contrast to those who believe it pays off financially to act and look religious (as we saw in 1 Timothy 6:5), there sits one of the most remarkable verses in the New Testament in 1 Timothy 6:6:
But godliness with contentment is great gain.
A real, true, vibrant and living relationship with God (godliness) in company with contentment is GREAT GAIN. Obviously the key to understanding this verse lies in grasping the essence of the word contentment. In its least common denominator, contentment simply means to be satisfied. When we are satisfied we are contented. When we are not satisfied we are restless and looking to get more and better things so as to satisfy our inner yearnings.
There are three key verses in the New Testament where the same basic Greek word as translated contentment in 1 Timothy 6:6 is used. Please look at these three verses and think about what they are saying in relation to godliness:
And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. 1 Timothy 6:8
Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. Hebrews 13:5
Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. Philippians 4:11
The common thread in these verses is the exhortation to be satisfied with having one's basic needs met in this life. Having food and clothing we should be satisfied. We should be satisfied with what we have and not fall into covetousness (love of money and things). In whatever state we are in, abounding or abased, we should be satisfied.
How is it possible to be satisfied and content when locked in a dark and dank prison cell as the Apostle Paul was many times? How is possible to be satisfied and content even when wandering in the wilderness with no home as the Apostle Paul did for years? How is it possible to be satisfied and content no matter where you are and regardless of what is happening to you? The answer to all of these questions is found in GODLINESS.
When our relationship with God is greater than the circumstances of our life, we are able to be satisfied and content no matter what happens to us-both good and bad. When our relationship with God is so strong that no amount of persecution, affliction, hunger or pain can break it; then we are able to be satisfied and content in whatever state we are in.
When we allow distractions to cause us to worry about tomorrow, worry about how bills will be paid, worry about being fired from our jobs, thrown out on the street or forced to live off the charity of others; our relationship with God is shredded and we lose the contentment that faith in God brings. Everything all comes down to guarding and maintaining our relationship with God and refusing to allow any person, situation or fear to cause us to doubt that God will NEVER LEAVE US NOR FORSAKE US!
A strong relationship with God together with the being satisfied with such things as we have in the state we are in is GREAT GAIN, for the product of this is peace and confidence that all is well for God will never leave us or forsake us. The great gain is indeed the peace that passes understanding that guards our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. The greatest gain in this life is not measured in dollars and cents but rather in how real, vital, vibrant and living our relationship with God really is.