The good old-fashioned work ethic is something to be celebrated. However there seems to be a tendency today to think that gain is godliness – that material gain is an indicator of a person’s or ministry’s success.
But whatever happened to the contentment ethic? Paul said, “Godliness with contentment is great gain”.
Notice godliness with contentment isn’t just gain – it is GREAT gain:
“But godliness actually is a means of GREAT GAIN when accompanied by contentment” (NASB);
“A godly life brings HUGE PROFITS to people who are content with what they have” (GWT).
The reason godliness with contentment is GREAT GAIN is because “…godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.”
Remember when Elisha chided his servant Gehazi for accepting an offering in return for prophetic/healing services rendered? “Is it a time to receive money, and to receive garments, and oliveyards, and vineyards, and sheep, and oxen, and menservants, and maidservants? he said. “The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave unto thee, and unto thy seed for ever.”
So despite today’s emphasis on how to become rich, it’s okay for a minister not to receive every offering. It can actually be a hindrance (a non-optimal use of time, and therefore it will yield a non-optimal return on investment) for any person – especially someone who is called and separated unto the Gospel – to seek to capitalize on every investment opportunity, every political opportunity, or every personal opportunity that comes his way.
The fashion of this world is passing away and only the unseen things are eternal. There are new heavens and a new earth which God shall create, and only the meek shall inherit it and reign in it.
Therefore the best ‘investment’ anyone can make, from the view-point of eternity, is to ascertain what pleases God and what best promotes His Kingdom – and then to spend his or her life-time seeking it, fulfilling God’s will for his or her life. That will not mean the same vocation for all of us, nor the same response to financial or political opportunities by all of us. Every man has his proper gift and calling of God.
When the title deeds to land are allotted in the new earth, and when appointments are made to governmental offices in it – the criteria won’t necessarily be how materially wealthy you or your family nor your ministry became in this present world. “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.”
Therefore, “having food and raiment let us be therewith content.”
But “thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called…keep this commandment without spot, unrebukable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ”.
“…Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.”