The letter to Timothy is a fascinating read. If you can get past the need to understand the essential context of chapter two, which is where most people proof text to justify all sorts of sexist conclusions, then it is a remarkable work.
Paul was writing to Timothy about the battle between a love of mammon (the god of money and stuff) and a life of contentment. Now we do not know the exact circumstances that the old Apostle is writing to because this seems to be the only facet of this letter dedicated to the topic. The context of chapter five and six are warnings against things that lead to ungodliness, making greed and abundance one of the final pieces.
“The lure of excess and wealth,” Paul wrote, “It changes your life trajectory and priorities. But don’t be fooled, you will lose everything for this god of money.”
For Paul, there are two distinct paths you can take, the one of excess and wealth or the one of Jesus. To this he writes in chapter six, verses six through eight: 6 Of course, there is great gain in godliness combined with contentment; 7 for we brought nothing into the world, so that we can take nothing out of it; 8 but if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these.
This is an invitation to discover contentment, to find sufficiency and satisfaction in what God has provided. Of course, such a life shifting view is easier said than done. We cannot expect to step out of the system of abundance, excess, busyness, and wanting, only to discover contentment in a matter of moments, days, or weeks. Discovering contentment in and through God takes time.
What is required for a life of contentment is to journey with Jesus each day. Each day is an opportunity to learn and to grow. Living a new way of life takes work and sacrifice.
As we enter into this season of Thanksgiving, may we also journey together into a life of contentment by becoming radically grateful for the community we share together, the serenity of inclusiveness for all on this journey, and the abundance of blessings that God has given to us.