I was thinking about a Bible verse this morning as I walked through my neighborhood. I was thankful for the beautiful morning and for a healthy body that did not limit me from walking and enjoying the world around me. As I counted my blessings and felt a rush of happiness, a verse came to me, “Godliness with contentment is great gain.”1

It struck me that we’ve all had to learn to do without at various points of our lives. But here God was telling me that having gratitude for whatever I was able to do is great gain.

I came home and looked up the Bible passage to find the context. As I read the surrounding verses, I saw that Paul was telling Timothy, a young leader in the church, to be careful about equating godliness with financial gain.

This is a beautiful passage on having the right perspective and not letting materialism and a desire for more possessions cause us grief. I had already been learning this past year that shopping can be an unnecessary exercise in pleasing myself that can end up being wasteful if I’m not careful. Learning to be happy and grateful with a simple life is a key to contentment.

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. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith.

Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age.2

  1. 1 Timothy 6:6
  2. 1 Timothy 6:6–12,17–19 NIV