Godliness with contentment is great gain. 1 Timothy 6:6
When I was shopping for engagement rings, I spent many hours looking for exactly the right diamond. I was plagued by the thought, What if I miss the best one?
According to economic psychologist Barry Schwartz, my chronic indecision indicates that I am what he calls a “maximizer,” in contrast to a “satisficer.” A satisficer makes choices based on whether something is adequate for their needs. Maximizers? We have a need to always make the best choice (guilty!). The potential outcome of our indecision in the face of many choices? Anxiety, depression, and discontent. In fact, sociologists have coined another phrase for this phenomenon: fear of missing out.
We won’t find the words maximizer or satisficer in Scripture, of course. But we do find a similar idea. In 1 Timothy, Paul challenged Timothy to find value in God rather than the things of this world. The world’s promises of fulfillment can never fully deliver. Paul wanted Timothy to instead root his identity in God: “Godliness with contentment is great gain” (6:6). Paul sounds like a satisficer when he adds, “But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that” (v. 8).
When I fixate on the myriad ways the world promises fulfillment, I usually end up restless and unsatisfied. But when I focus on God and relinquish my compulsive urge to maximize, my soul moves toward genuine contentment and rest.
Would you say you tend to be a content person? Why or why not? How do you think your relationship with God affects your overall contentment in life?
Father, help me to remember that only You can fill my soul.
One of the most misquoted statements in Scripture is 1 Timothy 6:10: “The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.” Notice that money itself isn’t the root of evil, but when it becomes the object of our love, that’s when the problems begin. Because money is so seductive, Jesus addressed this issue at the launch of His public ministry. In the Sermon on the Mount, He spoke of the value of pursuing treasure in heaven rather than money. Why? Matthew 6:21 explains that “where [our] treasure is, there [our] heart will be also.” Jesus also addressed a primary reason we seek security in money—worry. He reminded us that the God who cares for “the birds of the air” values us and can be trusted to provide for our needs (vv. 25–27).
Learn more about a biblical approach to handling money.