At times I will be using one of the scriptures from the Revised Common Lectionary which is a yearly set of Biblical readings agreed upon by a number of Christian denominations. I think that whatever your system of belief is, you will find something interesting about these posts.
But 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.
What's on your plate these days?
Chances are that your first response to that question had little to do with food and a lot more to do with how full your calendar and "to do" list are. It's amazing how Americans have become so obsessed with food that we even think of our lives in terms of a dinner plate!
What we seem less obsessed with, however, is what we put on our dinner plates in the first place. Despite an epidemic of obesity and numerous warnings that our plates are full of harmful foods, Americans still tend to consume what's bad for them. In fact, our busy lifestyles might be the exact reason we tend to eat the worst kinds of foods -- those that are fast, cheap and easy.
So, what's the alternative? How can we fill up our plates, both the culinary and the spiritual, in ways that make us rich in health and vitality? In writing to his young protege; Timothy, the apostle Paul outlines a strategy for getting rid of the the junk we call riches in our lives and, instead, becoming rich in the things that matter.
Paul warns Timothy of those who think that "godliness" is a means of material gain. In Paul's Jewish world, many believed that serving God would lead to financial wealth. Thus, they pointed to their good works in expectation of a blessing. We might think of it as an early version of the "prosperity" gospel where one just "claims" wealth as a blessing from God. For Paul, however, this is the first-century equivalent of a diet soda or a processed bag of chips. It looks and tastes rich, but it's a diet full of empty calories.
Instead, Paul says, "There is great gain in godliness combined with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world so that we can take nothing out of it; but if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these". Paul argues for what we might call a diet of "enough-ness," or that feeling of being full of enough of the right things that we don't crave the wrong ones. Paul offers up his own list of three harmful things that people can consume that will "plunge" them into "ruin and destruction" and "pierce" them with "many pains". He also gives the remedies to these three things. I've listed them below.
At this point it would be possible to venture off into a political rant, but I'll just leave it were I started.
What's on your plate?
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