Jump Start # 2979
1 Timothy 6:6 “But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment.”
Contentment isn’t about money. Contentment is an attitude, a state of the mind, that one chooses. Some with no money are content. Others are unhappy and always talking about needing more. Some with a lot of money are content, while others are not. And, the subject of contentment transcends money to how one views life. Words I would connect with contentment would be peace, calm, restful, joyful. Jealousy is not in the makeup of contentment.
One area that we don’t mention much is being content with God’s way of doing things. Content with the church as God designed it and gave it a mission. So many are wanting the church to do more. Content with the purpose of the church—seek and save the lost and honor God. So many want the church involved in community social agendas. In a recent sermon I discussed this idea. Is the church established or is it evolving? I was amazed at how many books are on the market that are titled “Redefining the church,” “Reshaping the church,” Reinventing the church” or “Reorganizing the church.” Authoring these books are those who do not understand nor appreciate Biblical authority and have little patience for the way the church looks. Simply put, they are not content. In all of these books what’s missing is, “Return to the Biblical example.” No one wants to return, they want to change it.
Now, under the surface lies two deadly spirits.
First, is the spirit that believes what we read about in the Bible doesn’t work today. That’s why everything needs to be redone. Do it over. Do it better. The first century world isn’t our world, so daycares, schools, social programs, the wholeness of man and the wellness of man ought to be emphasized. Missions that have nothing to do with preaching and teaching, are a major part of these redesigned and restructured churches. Bike missions. Cooking missions. Education missions. You won’t find those in the Bible, but restructured, redefined, and repurposed and repackaged, the modern church doesn’t look like what you read in the Bible. Worship becomes a show. Doctrine is out. Sin is not mentioned. Hell has evaporated. The leadership of the church looks more like a boardroom of a corporation than shepherds in the fields of Judea.
Second, is the spirit that is not satisfied nor content with what God has given to us. We don’t like it. It’s not enough. We want the church doing more than what God said. And when people are not satisfied, happy or content, they’ll change things to get where they want to be. When a person isn’t happy with the house they live in, he will move. When a person isn’t satisfied with the car he drives, off to the dealership he will go to find a better car. And, when writers, leaders and preachers are not happy with the church the way God made it, they will seek to “redefine it, reshape it, restructure it, reinvent it, or simply, reboot it.”
Content with what God has built and content with what God has given to us. God’s way worked. The N.T. proves that. Lives were changed, the kingdom grew and the impact changed the world. It worked then. It will work today. It is working today. The kingdom is growing. Lives are being changed. And, it’s being done the same ole’ way as always, preaching and teaching the saving message of Jesus Christ. “Go into all the world and preach,” is what the Lord told the apostles to do. And, when we settle on that, we find that works.
I wonder if there is another cause behind all of this “rewriting” of the church. Could it be that it’s easier to change the church than to change their ways? Rather than being what God wants me to be, I redefine what God wants. I take passages out of context, I add layers of psychology and modern issues and suddenly the church becomes more social than spiritual. It is changed to serve me rather than honor God. It becomes shaped around what I like rather than what God has delivered. It appeals to my emotions rather than to my soul. With that worship becomes an event that I am a spectator, just like a ballgame or a movie. Rather than participating and giving, which makes worship a verb, as it is in the N.T., worship entertains me. It better be good or I will go somewhere else or worse, I will just not come at all. The stakes are high. The pressure is great. Each week, the “show” must be better. Old timers used to say, “If you lure them in with hotdogs, you’ll have to give them hamburgers to keep them.” A consumer mentality is developed and a consumer mentality must be kept to sustain the crowds. And, in all of this, God is pushed to the background. What does God want? Why is it that God built the church and shaped worship the way He did? Does any of that matter today?
Content. We find in the longest Psalm, “Oh how I love your law.” For that writer, the law was the Law of Moses. No Gospels. No Philippians. No prophets. It was Leviticus. It was Numbers. That’s the Law that he had in mind. And, he LOVED it. He was satisfied with it. He was content with it. He wasn’t trying to rewrite it. He wasn’t wanting to change it. He was happy with what God had provided.
Maybe it’s time we stopped dancing with wolves, flirting with the devil and tiptoeing through weeds of error and get back to the Bible and change our hearts and ways. Be content with what God has established. Be happy with what God has built. Toss those “reshaping” books in the trash and open up your Bible. Take a deep and long look at what God has done for you. He does not owe us salvation. He does not have to accept us. We were the ones who messed up, not God. He could have left us on our own to figure out what to do. He blesses us daily. He hears our prayers. And, yet, with all of that, some what to change what God has given to us. Shame on that type of thinking. Back to the Bible is where we need to be headed.
Tell me the old, old story…