“But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment.”
1 Timothy 6:6
Connecting in Prayer
Begin your time together with prayer and praise.
Connecting with One Another
Does contentment mean a lack of desire for more? Why or why not? Describe some obstacles to living with a spirit of contentment in our contemporary culture?
Growth through Understanding
The story is told of a dog who was wandering around his owner’s yard one day. The dog was carrying a large bone in his mouth. When the dog came up to the edge of the pond, he looked into the water and saw a reflection of what he thought was an even larger dog with what seemed like an even larger bone. Wanting the bigger bone, the dog immediately opened up his mouth to go after it. Yet in the process, the bone in his mouth dropped into the water and quickly sunk to the bottom out of reach. Not only did the dog fail to get the illusion of the larger bone, but he lost the one he had been enjoying all along.
Discontentment has a way of causing us to lose what we already have in an effort to gain what often does not even exist. In this week’s lesson, Dr. Evans gives us three key perspectives that accompany kingdom stewardship – the first of which is contentment. To be content with what you have, even as you may seek to improve your life or lifestyle, produces a heart of gratitude. Contentment doesn’t mean you have to remain where you are, but it does mean you are okay with where you are until your change comes.
The next perspective Dr. Evans expanded on from this week’s passage was the love of God over the love of money. Matthew 6: 24 states it this way, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to on and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” Thus, as you grow in your economics—in your treasures as a kingdom steward, you are to be cautious not to fall in love with money. We are not instructed not to have it, just not to love it. God must always remain first in our hearts and priorities.
Lastly, a kingdom steward remains humble with regard to his or her resources, and gives generously out of what God has provided. The good news is that it’s not a sin to enjoy what God gives you. if God has given it, you’ve gotten it ethically and legitimately, and God says you can enjoy it. But you are not to get haughty with your resources. Instead, you are to store up treasures in heaven through investing your resources for the wellbeing of others.
The more God gives you, the more generous you should be in good works. Good works are those things that you do that benefit others for which you expect nothing in return. Kingdom stewardship means you get to enjoy what’s been given but that others get to benefit from it too and that God gets the glory out of it.
Growth through Discussion
As you dive into the heart of Dr. Evans’ teaching, use the following questions to generate discussion among your group.
- Dr. Evans mentioned three perspectives if you are to be a kingdom steward: Godliness mixed with contentment, loving God more than money and a humble generosity in abundance. Discuss the importance of each perspective.
- Paul said he had to “learn” contentment. In what ways can a person learn how to be content? Have you ever experienced a situation that taught you a deeper level of contentment?
- Are there any ways that a heavy use of social media may contribute to a lessening of contentment for people who use it frequently? If yes, what might be done to guard against this?
- Describe the differences between the following things: A house and a home? Medicine and healing? Friends and authentic relationships? In what ways does being a kingdom steward contribute to the acquiring of the latter in each pair?
- What does Dr. Evans call “doing a good work and then expecting something in return?” How does this differ from the good works God commands us to do as His kingdom stewards?
Now is the time to apply the wisdom of what you have learned to your life, as you demonstrate the depth of your relationship with God through service to Him and others.
Living in a spirit of humility before God with regard to personal resources exemplifies placing your hope in God, along with a heart of gratitude. Every day this week, write down three things for which you are grateful.
We learned this week that God desires us to be “rich in good works,” while also being “generous” and sharing what we have with others. Identify at least one thing of value which you already own and make a decision to share it (by loaning or giving it away) with someone else who may need it this week. If you can identify more than one, all the better.