Today we are reading from 1 Timothy 6: 1-10:
Let all who are under the yoke of slavery regard their masters as worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and the teaching may not be blasphemed. 2 Those who have believing masters must not be disrespectful to them on the ground that they are members of the church; rather they must serve them all the more, since those who benefit by their service are believers and beloved.Teach and urge these duties. 3 Whoever teaches otherwise and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that is in accordance with godliness, 4 is conceited, understanding nothing, and has a morbid craving for controversy and for disputes about words. From these come envy, dissension, slander, base suspicions, 5 and wrangling among those who are depraved in mind and bereft of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain. 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. 9 But those who want to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains.
Well, first this passage starts off with something that we need to talk about. Slavery. I always think of what my New Testament professor, Dr. Minor, used to tell us, we can’t ignore scripture, even the parts we may not like, agree with, or understand. Today, we see Paul talk to slaves and tell them, to honor their masters. What do we do this? Well, a couple of things
- Remember slavery in Paul’s day was not what we think of within the American context. This was more like indentured servitude, mainly. It wasn’t like the kind of slavery that existed here in America.
- We examine scripture through the whole of scripture. Yes, we see here Paul speaks to what slavery looks like. But look across the whole of scripture. We see slaves and free as equals in the early church (Galatians 3:28) and one of the dominant narratives of the Old Testament was the freeing of the slaves. We see the consistent bent of scripture is towards freedom.
- This shows the danger of building any theology (or worldview) on a single verse of scripture. Keep everything in context. Everything. Never have one verse as the totality of your theology or belief system.
What I think that verse, as well as the rest of the passage, is trying to get us to see is the importance of contentment. The love of money, envy, all of these are based in wanting more. Not having enough. Not being content where you are, doing what you are doing, having what you have, being who you are. All this is based on this concept: I am not enough.
I need more, whatever it is. More money, more stuff, more whatever. I will not be enough until I have more. That isn’t true. You are enough. As you are. You are. You don’t need more, you really don’t. You have worth, you have what you need, being who you are.
Today, be content in who you are. Where you are. There is much godliness with contentment. Know you are you and whose you are. It is enough. Be content.
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