Take your bible, please, and turn to the book of 1 Timothy this morning as we continue our series entitled Happiness is and we’re learning about biblical happiness and how to find the joy of the Lord in our lives. And I want you to learn with me today from 1 Timothy 6. Let’s stand together for our scripture reading time. And we’re going to read verses 6 through 10 and then I might quote one or two other verses just to kind of get us situated and into the context of the moment. And what a great service we’ve had already. Worshipping the Lord in song and giving, but we believe the bible’s the central part of our worship. And we want to open God’s word and worship him as we hear and then live out his word. And so today we’re gonna read 1 Timothy 6.
If you’re a guest with us, welcome to Lancaster Baptist Church and I hope that you’ve had a good time so far. And if you don’t have a bible, you can look in the outline there, find the verses because we want you to know that everything we’re preaching and teaching today is found in God’s word. And so let’s read about it. 1 Timothy 6 beginning in verse 6. “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us therewith be content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”
Now how many of you would agree this morning that sorrow is the opposite of happiness, right? Come on now. Talk with me. How many of you – that’s not a trick question. How many of you would agree that sorrow would be the opposite of happiness, right? Okay, good. So we’re talking about the happiness that God wants us to know. And the bible says in Acts 20:35, “Blessed. We’re more blessed when we give than when we receive.” And so we want to learn about happiness in the Lord and how we can live a contented and happy life in the Antelope Valley in 2019. So let’s pray together, okay?
Lord, thank you for this wonderful crowd and for the sweet spirit. Now, Lord, we pray that your Holy Spirit would apply the truth of your word to every individual here today. We ask that your will would be done. We ask that you help us to find true happiness and we pray this in Jesus’ name, amen. You may be seated. Well, we have just read this morning such a profound verse. And of course all of the bible is profound because it is all the inspired word of God, but verse number six is an amazing verse so I want you to look at it once again. It tells us, “But godliness with contentment is great gain.” So let’s read that together. Ready, begin. “But godliness with –
Audience: Contentment is great gain.
is great gain. Here we find that godliness with contentment is a key to the happiness of the Christian life or the gain or the blessedness that God has for us. Now knowing that godliness with contentment is great gain is one thing, to know it in our mind. To experience it in our life is quite another challenge indeed. I think about contentment. I think about the Christmas season coming up and that’s a great assault on the contentment of a Christian family, the whole Christmas season. You’ll recall the words of Santa Claus, “On Prancer, on Dancer, on Master, on Visa,” remember that?
And in order to find contentment, a lot of people are gonna pull out Visa, right? They’re gonna try to buy some happiness. They’re gonna try to buy some fulfillment. And sadly, many wrong decisions are made in life because of discontented hearts. Many people completely get off the tracks spiritually because of discontentment. They do get into debt. They think that if they have certain things that they can find happiness with those things. And so they’ll just start charging their way into what they think is contentment but all they find is destruction.
Now how many of you understand, how many of you’ve ever tried to keep up a little bit with the Jones’ and you’ve tried to find some happiness in some stuff and found yourself in a pile of debt? Let me just see where you are, how many of you would say, “Yes, that’s my personal testimony right now.” All right. Now trying to add insult to injury but we all understand it, don’t we? We understand that sometimes there’s a fruit problem like debt but then there’s a root problem like covetousness way down beneath the surface. So when discontentment is in our heart, then we can find ourselves into other types of trouble like getting into debt or like ruining our marriage.
You see, when a man becomes discontented with his wife or a wife with her husband, when we begin to pick apart those little things because of discontentment, suddenly we can make decisions that just bring devastation to the whole family. And we see that so often. Sometimes we see people that because of discontentment they literally will leave the very will of God for their life. They get troubled, they get a little bit perturbed, they think they deserve better and because that spirit of discontentment begins to reign within them, they make decisions that are not God-centered. They’re more reactionary decisions. They’re immature decisions. And soon that discontentment has brought ruination to their life.
And often without really thinking about it, we can set ourselves up for disappointment and discouragement because we have these expectations of what we think marriage should be, finance should be, California should be, church should be. And when it’s not that perfect little world that we think it should be and when we can’t control every aspect of the neighborhood or our kids’ school or our spouse or whatever it is that you want to control, soon discontentment begins to flourish in our heart and begin to make autonomous decisions that bring great destruction.
So this morning I want to share with you how to get over that spirit of discontentment and how to find joy in contentment, how to find the happiness that God intends for us to enjoy. If you’ll notice in your notes this morning I want you to see, first of all, the delight of contentment, that there is sheer delight in biblical contentment. The bible says, “But godliness with contentment is great gain.” Now what we learn about contentment in this verse is that it is the fruit of godliness. In other words, you cannot pull apart godliness from contentment. They’re always going to be connected. In other words, contentment is really the fruit of a godly life or a God-centered life. Godliness is not measured by material wealth. It is measured by spiritual blessings. The real gain then is godliness with contentment which is great or better gain. Godliness is living your life with more of a God consciousness than with a self-consciousness. Discontented people are very self-centered people. “I deserve better than that. I deserve a better spouse than that. I deserve a better boss than that. I deserve –“ and discontentment normally relates to a focus upon self.
Jerry Bridges wrote, “The practice of godliness is an exercise or discipline that focuses upon God. From this Godward attitude arises the character and conduct that we usually think of as godliness. So contentment is God-focused living. Discontentment is self-focused living. Is everybody with me so far? We’re talking about a God-focused life. So Paul write in 1 Timothy 4:7, “But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.” In other words, you can sit around listening to gossip and fables or you can focus upon God. In verse 8 of 1 Timothy 4 says, “For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things.”
Now I’m not gonna preach against exercise this morning. It has some merit and a lot of us could use more of it, but how many of you would agree with me that we live in a society that is so focused on self, so focused on the bodies, so focused on exercise, how many of you would agree with me that there’s a lot of Christians today who very easily would spend an hour in some form of exercise and zero moments in the bible? Come on, help me now. This can take as long or as short as you’d like it to take this morning. No, God says bodily exercise profiteth little but godliness is profitable unto all things. So how many of you would agree that as Christians sometimes we could easily – I mean we can put an emphasis on having ripped abs and you could have a ripped body and be a very ungodly, unhappy person.
In fact, do we understand that there are people who obtain certain things and accolades and looks but they’re not happy. There’s not a real contentment when they put their head on the pillow at night. They know that having that body looking a certain way or that car a certain way there’s still something missing, you see. There’s a new survey I read recently from a company called OnePoll in Great Britain and they reveal that the least fun age of life is 45. And they said that most people feel it’s harder to enjoy life at 45 than they did in their childhood. Now, I’ve got to tell you I’ve been pastoring here for 34 years almost and been preaching for about 37, 38 years.
I’ve dealt with a lot of men from 38 to 44, 45 and there is something – kind of hit this point where they’re like, “Is this all there is to it? I’m just gonna like work a job and love my wife and raise kids and go to church? I want to do something more than that like get ripped abs. And I want to get a car like I have when I was in high school, maybe a little dice on the mirror.” Yeah. “I’m gonna go jump out of a plane and pull the chute.” And there’s books written about it. I have several of them and books like Midlife Crisis. So it is somewhat of a phenomenon and when a guy’s going through it I mean they can really weird out. I’ve seen it and I’ve seen it many times. But this book or this study said the primo age for this is 45. This is when people get really unhappy. They feel like, man, this is all there is to life.
Any 45-year-olds in here? All right, let’s pray for them, okay? And with the great wisdom of the British poll that I read, they said, “If you want to rediscover your youth, an older soul can find joy by watching children’s movies or talking in silly voices.” There you have the world’s wisdom, by the way, right. How many believe there’s got to be something deeper than talking in children’s voices? One theologian said, “Contentment then is the product of a heart resting in God. It is the soul’s enjoyment of that piece that passes all understanding. Contentment is the product of a soul that is resting in God.” It’s not temporarily watching a movie or temporarily laughing like you did when you were a kid. It’s something deeper. It is the fruit of a godly focus.
And there’s two ways that the scripture manifest this in the text. The first way is that there will come into your life, when you focus on God, there will come a financial contentment in your life. Now look at verse 7, it says, “For we brought nothing into this world and it is certain we can carry nothing out.” And by the way, you’ve never seen a hearse pulling a U-Haul trailer, right? We’re not taking it with us. And the bible says in verse 8, “And having food and raiment let us therewith be content.” Now finance status is temporal at best and sometimes, like in the case of the Enron company, some people’s entire investment went away. It’s just not something that we should place as the source of our happiness, right? That God is the source of our happiness.
Luke 12:16, it’s in your notes, it says, “And he spoke a parable unto them, saying: ‘The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully.’ And when he thought within himself saying, “What shall I do because I have no room where bestow my fruits.” And he said, “This will I do. I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will bestow all my fruits and my goods and I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, thou has much goods laid up for many years, take thy knees, eat, drink and be merry.’” But God said unto him, “Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee, then who shall those things be which thou has provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself and is not rich towards –“ what does it say? “God.”
In other words, you’re a fool when you put finances at the center and not God at the center. And the fact of the matter is that when you are growing in biblical contentment, God will be the focus and when God is in the center, the other areas of life, including finances become more peaceful and they become more provisional as God meets our need. And so there is a financial contentment. When God is at the center, there is also a circumstantial contentment. Notice that in verse 7 it says, “For we brought nothing into this world and it is certain we can carry nothing out.” In other words, man proposes but God disposes. In other words, we have our plan but God is sovereign and the fact of the matter is circumstances sometimes are great, sometimes they’re bad but Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. So circumstances change and finances change but Jesus never changes.
Now I started learning about this first in my life when I was 16. And I’m not gonna stand up here today and say, “I have learned fully how to be contented,” because how many of you would agree that contentment like humility, like faith, these are areas that we grow our whole lives in. No one arrives in those areas. But I remember as a 16-year-old boy, specifically 15 when my dad came into our room, I’ll never forget the house in Whittier, California. I was enjoying now tackle football, looking forward to driving a car and kind of getting into the high school scene and my dad said to my brother and I, “Boys, God’s called me to Korea to be a missionary.”
And I thought about that for a while, I said, “Wait a minute, we’re gonna move 10,000 miles away from football and Mustangs and hamburgers?” And suddenly my contentment wasn’t there. And I don’t get into a lot of the details with the teenagers but I went through a real hard time for about a year. I wasn’t happy at all. In fact, I thought that the way to be contented was to live in a certain neighborhood. I thought contentment was about where you lived or where you maybe work or what you have. Because that’s what the world tells us and that’s what some of you are struggling with.
And God jerked me up out of a rather affluent neighborhood with nice friends and a nice suburb of Whittier, California and he moved me as a teenage boy to South Korea. And there we were. And I got to tell you for several months I was an unhappy kid ‘cause I thought you couldn’t be happy if you weren’t where you wanted to be physically. And it seems like when you’re discontented everything becomes bad, right? That Limburger cheese under your nose and if you’re discontented then, the school’s bad and the neighborhood’s bad and the church is bad and the car is bad and everything’s bad when you’re discontented, right? And so I began to complain. I complained about the food and the traffic and just anything and everything about the Korean culture.
I complained. Until we had something at our church called a revival meeting. And there was a speaker who came and his name was Jack Baskin. And Jack Baskin had been a missionary to Korea in the ‘50s and now he was coming back, doing some preaching. And one day Dr. Baskin came to our home. We lived on the World Vision compound. It was a – some of you might have heard of World Vision. It’s like a children’s organization. And we took a walk to the top of the hill there in Seoul on the compound, we came to a Korean war machine gun placement. We went up to the top of that machine gun placement and it was kind of a concrete structure and we stood there and we talked about learning how to accept God’s will for your life.
We talked about the fact that it doesn’t have to really matter where you live. You can be happy in the Lord anywhere if you’re right with God. If you’ll repent of your pride and your self-thought. And Brother Baskin talked with me about life and about surrender and about bible college. I wound up going to the college where he was the vice president and I repented of my self thought and I asked the Lord’s forgiveness. And I came to a place so that for the next two years I loved Korean food and I loved the Korean culture and I loved the Korean people and I traveled all over the Orient having a better time than any 17-year-old should ever have in his entire life. Why? Because I got my focus on God and off of myself.
But that’s not a problem merely experienced by 16-year-olds. There are 60-year-olds struggling with it today. There’s many people today that just kind of get that chip on their shoulder. By the way, next Monday night Dr. Baskin, the man I just told you about, he’s gonna be preaching here at our Worldwide Missions Conference. Maybe he can help you like he helped me. You see, this matter of contentment, it is the fruit of a God-centered life. It is true gain. When you find this contentment, it is true gain or happiness. It is not self-sufficiency as the Greeks thought of it. It is Christ sufficiency that brings gain and so there is this delight that comes in contentment.
And then I want you to notice secondly this morning the danger of misplaced love. When we do not place our love and contentment in Jesus we are heading on a very dangerous path and some of you are on that path perhaps this morning. Now notice what the bible says in verse 6. It says, “But godliness with contentment is great gain,” verse 8, “and having food and raiment let us therewith be content.” Notice verse 9, “But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare and into many foolish and hurtful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.”
Now notice this phrase, “But they that will be rich.” The first danger of a misplaced love is that we become trapped in our self. We are trapped. They that will to be rich. Those who purpose their life’s center purpose is to be rich are trapped. Why are they trapped? Because they become tempted with this and they are in a snare with this. The bible says, “They that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare.” Temptation speaks of an enticement to sin. A snare speaks of being caught or entangled. There are many temptations that may come. I’ve seen many men who they will to be rich and so they send their children and their wife to church. They work overtime every Sunday because they’ve made this decision that money matters so much and what happens is they gain the world and they lose their walk with God. And sometimes they lose so much more in the trap that they find themselves in. Their priorities are out of whack.
And by the way, there are many rich people in the bible, people that got blessed but these were people who were God-centered. I think of Abraham. I think of King David, I think of Lydia, the seller of purple, in Philippi and many others who were blessed. It’s not a sin to be blessed. It is a sin to love after money and to make it the center of our life. It’s a trap and not only is it a trap, but it’s hurtful. It will bring hurt to your life. Notice in verse 9 again it says, “And into many foolish and hurtful lusts.”
How many people have we known that get into get rich quick schemes? They make poor investments. They begin gambling. They start playing the lottery. Why? Because they’re saying, “I deserve more than what I have. I want to have more,” and they begin to make very unwise decisions. Why? Because at the root of the problem is a covetousness, is a discontentment. They are not focused on the Lord. They are trapped in this pursuit and they are gonna get hurt many times in this pursuit. Notice James 4:2, “You lust and have not, you kill and desire to have and cannot obtain. Ye fight and war, yet you have not because ye ask now.”
Years ago there was a book written by a psychologist named Richard Carlson and the book was entitled, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff. How many of you ever heard of that book or remember that book? Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff. Then there was a sequel, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff and It’s All Small Stuff, right? And in the book there was an amazing statement and he said this, “The narrower the gap between what we have and what we want, the happier we are.” “The narrower the gap between what we have and what we want, the happier we are.” That, my friends, is contentment. Coming to the placer where we learned to trust in the Lord with all of these things.
You see, if we’re not careful along the way, if we’re not cautious spiritually, if we place our love under the things of this world, we’ll be trapped, we’ll be hurt and we could be destroyed. Notice what the bible says here also in verse number 10, it says which – verse 9 rather, “Which drown men in destruction and perdition.” There is a destructive end. I think of Achan and his love for money and he stole the Babylonia’s garment and you can read in the Book of Joshua 7 how we brought destruction to his family and to the entire tribe. Everyone was destroyed, why? Because of the sin of Achan, because he did not have a God-centered focus.
And notice finally when someone is not pursuing God, when someone is discontented and they start thinking, you know what, I’m out of here and they start making decisions based upon this spirit, they can become deceived. Notice what it says in verse 10. It says, “For the love of money is the root of all evil which while some coveted after notice this, they erred from the faith and pierce themselves through with many sorrows. You see, the love of money is the root of all evil the bible says, verse 10. It doesn’t say that money is the root of all evil. It says the love of money is the root of all evil. And notice the love of money can pull you from the truth.
Now folks, notice this this morning in verse number 10, it says, “While some coveted after, they have erred from the faith.” Let’s see those three words. Erred from the faith. Four words, say it. Erred from the faith. You mean if I just don’t have God right in the center and if I start down this proudful thought of I deserve more and I’m gonna get more and if I start making decisions based upon money like taxes are so high and I could sell and I could negotiate and I could redo this and that. And if I make finances the center of my decision-making process, are you saying I could actually err from the faith? That’s what the bible says.
God must be at the center of every decision we make. Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be what? Added unto you. The love of money can pull you from the faith. Many faithful Christians have been drawn away from church by a love for the almighty dollar. I’ve seen hundreds of people get an idea that there’s greener grass for them during a time of discontentment. Health wasn’t as perfect as they wanted. Finances weren’t what they wanted. Neighbor wasn’t what they wanted. I’ve seen people that have made decisions in their times of despondency and they’ve said, “I’m out of here. I’m gonna do this differently. I’m gonna go here. I’m gonna live there.” And I see them sometimes across the country, not nearly where they were spiritually and sometimes completely away from God. They have erred from the faith because they allowed discontentment to become a direction in their life that took them away from a spiritual center upon God.
Can I tell you this morning because careful about making major decisions based on economics alone. Be careful about getting to that place where you say, “Well, I’ve figured this and I have figured that and I just feel like this is the way that it could be and taxes are this and my investments are this and therefore I will do this.” Be careful of your manmade decision process.
Randy Alcorn said, “Planning is often good and necessary but we should never plan as if we control the outcome.” There is only one that controls the outcome and that is God. And a spiritual man will put his trust in God. It does not mean that we don’t plan or calculate. And I see this a lot with guys that get – and gals turning 55, 60, 65 and it’s like I’ve got to make this decision based on what the accountant says and what I mathematically equate. And when you make that the sole authority of your decision, you could quickly move away from the will of God and err from the faith if God is not central in every decision that we make.
We must move from God’s will forward. Let me give an illustration. Look at James 4:13, it says this, “Go to now, ye that say today or tomorrow we will go into such a city and continue there a year and buy and sell and get gain. Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appeareth for a little time and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say if the Lord will, we shall live and do this or that. But now you rejoice in your boastings. All such rejoicing is evil.” God says, “Wait a minute, don’t make a plan and tell me, ‘I’m gonna go here, I’m gonna go there. I’m gonna buy this, I’m gonna sell that.’” Don’t tell God what we’re gonna do. We should say, “If the Lord will,” because the Lord is the center source of my contentment and my great gain is not in the business, it is in God.
God is my great gain, the source of my joy. Hebrews 13:5, “Let your conversation be without covetousness and be content with such things as you have for he have said, ‘I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.’” How many of you are glad for that by the way? Benjamin Franklin said, “Discontentment makes rich men poor while contentment makes poor men rich.” There was a pilot, he often would fly over the Appalachian Mountains and he always looked down at this one spot every time. And one day the co-pilot said to him, he said, “Why are you always looking down right at that spot?” And he said, “You know, when I was a little kid I used to fish right down on the banks of that river.” And he said, “Every time a plane would go by I’d look up and say, ‘I sure wish I could fly a plane up there.’” And he says, “Now that I’m flying a plane up here, I look down there and I say, ‘I sure wish I could fish down there.’”
Isn’t that how life is? You think the grass is greener. Your discontentment’s got you in a shifty mode. It’s sometimes with pastors like that often say that the pastor of 80 always wishes he was the pastor of a big church and pastors of big churches wish they could pastor 80 for a while. Seems like people are never content with where they are. Their job. I’m out of here. Guess what? You’ll have a mean boss at the next job. Your wife, guess what, your new wife will put on weight after the marriage. And you’re not so hot yourself bubba. “Well, I saw something at the church.” “Well, did you? I say 50 things. You want to take notes together?” “Well, Lancaster,” well, we can make a list.
Friends, discontentment can ruin spiritual growth. Godliness with contentment is great gain. We see the delight of contentment. We see the danger of a misplaced love. Be careful about making your decision based upon your best calculations. Notice thirdly the design of stewardship. God says, “I’ve got a way to help you stay content. There’s a way to keep your heart focused on me.” Verse 7 says, “For we brought nothing into this world, it is certain we can carry nothing out.” And the way to maintain contentment is to continually trust in the Lord. It is to build trust in the Lord and to just keep trusting the Lord. Psalm 84:11, “For the Lord God is a sun and a shield. The Lord will give grace and glory. No good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly.”
Did you see that? “The Lord will give grace and glory. No good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly.” Hey, those of you that kind of worry about tomorrow and next year and a decade from now, let me tell you something, God will take care of you. No good thing will He withhold from you. Be not dismayed what err be tied. God will take care of you. Beneath His wings of love abide, God will take care of you.” “Yeah, but what if this happens in five years from now?” “ What about God taking care of you?” There is a God who will care for you if you will trust in Him. Trust in the Lord.
And God also teaches us to develop heavenly values, to have a heavenly mindedness, Colossians 3:2, “Set your affection on things that are above, not on things of the earth.” It’s a blessing to me when men that are in retirement say, “Hey, Pastor, I’ve got some extra time, how can I serve? I want to lay more crowns at the feet of Jesus someday.” Oh, they might get a motorhome, they might go fish, they might do lots of stuff, but they don’t want to just check out from God, you know what I’m saying? They want to keep God in the middle of everything that they’re doing.
One Scottish evangelist, Duncan Matheson said, “Lord, stamp eternity on my eyeballs. Help me to see life through the eternal lens.” Thirdly, God says, “I want you to trust in me. I want you to develop heavenly values and I want you to find what real happiness is all about.” And he gives us the answer in Acts 20:35 when He says, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Let’s say that together. It is more blessed to –
than to -
And blessed means happiness. And God says, “If you want happiness, if you want to keep me at the central focus, then it’s more blessed to give than to receive.” Next week we have 15 or 20 missionaries here Sunday morning and as an unaffiliated independent church we don’t send our offerings, as I said, to a headquarters somewhere. We support these missionaries directly. And then they come back every few years, they say, “Hey, this is how many have been saved in Honduras and we started a church in Thailand and an orphanage in El Salvador.” And they start spreading it out there and those of us that get involved with giving, our hearts just are filled with joy because it’s more blessed to give than to receive. We must keep our heart fixed on the Lord. Look at Matthew 6:19, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt.” This is why we tithe. This is why we give. We’re saying, “Lord, I want to keep trusting you and trusting you. I want to keep looking to you and believing in you.”
Verse 21, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Let’s say that together. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. One more time. For where your –
Audience: Treasure is, there will your heart be also.
You ever see a guy buy a new car? And he puts his treasure in that car. He washes it, he polishes it. He kisses it. He says to his family, “There will be no French fry eating in this car. There will be no Coca-Cola in this car.” That’s until he spills his own first food in the car, right? Why where your treasure is, that’s where your heart is. God says, “I want you to keep your treasure, your focus on me.” Godliness with contentment is great gain.
Now how many of you this morning would say, and don’t put your hand up yet, I want you to think about it, how many of you would say, “Pastor, sometimes either weekly or monthly or quarterly or annually, but sometimes I can get kind of discontented. And I start trying to make these plans of how I’m gonna have my perfect world, a world where things just don’t bother me because I am me and I am important and I should not be bothered. So I start making plans in those moments of discontentment. I get discontented.” How many of you would just say honestly sometimes discontentment plays a role in trying to get my focus off of God? How many of you understand and would say that honestly? All right.
Now those of you that did not raise your hands, we will seek your counsel because I don’t think anybody goes through a year’s time without having some discontentment. And I think for pastors sometimes if you’re gonna have a melancholy moment or if you’re gonna have a moment of just, “Oh man, this is the pits,” sometimes it can come on a Sunday night or a Monday morning. You preach all day Sunday. A lot of times my wife will say to me at 6:00 or 7:00 on a Sunday morning, she’ll say, “See you tonight at 11:00.” And you just go 15, 16 hours and you give and give and sometimes you just get tired and maybe Monday morning that alarm clock comes and a pastor’s like anybody else. You’re just kind of tired and – but last week was a blessing because last week was pastor appreciation day.
I didn’t even know they had that. God bless the person that invented that. And I think I got up around 4:00, 4:30 Monday morning and I got ready and starting my day. And I had some letters from some of our members. And in the midst of that kind of heavy and tired feeling I started reading some of those letters. They were such a blessing. Thank you for being an encouragement. I think we all want to encourage each other, but the fact is only the Lord can lift the final and heaviest burdens of life.
But there was one letter that I began to read this past Monday morning, maybe around 5:00 or 6:00 and it so helped and convicted me about being contented, about really what matters and what’s big and what’s little. And I wanted to share it with you this morning. It’s from a teenager in our school. And by the way, look at that great penmanship. How many of you wish you could write like that? And this is what it said. “Hi, pastor. This is Joshua Gabason. Thank you for your prayers for my healing. I covet and appreciate them. My scans have been consistently showing only mild groupings of cancer left. I am grateful to God for His healing. Thank you. Joshua Gabason.”
And I read that and I thought to myself, wow, what does it take to get me discontented? What is it that you’re getting trapped with and what is it that’s causing you to start drifting spiritually today because things aren’t the way you want them? And I read that letter and showed it to my wife later and I thought, you know, God’s doing a great work in this young man’s heart. I want you to meet Josh this morning. Josh, would you come up here to the platform? Would you welcome Josh to our platform this morning? [Applause]
Josh. Josh, tell the church family how old you are.
Josh Gabason: 14.
And how many years have you been battling cancer now?
Josh Gabason: Almost three years.
Three years. Lots of chemo, lots of hospitals and we’ve been praying for ya. Tell the church kind of where you are right now with the cancer battle and how we can pray for ya.
Josh Gabason: I am still doing regular treatments about every start of the month and I’m still updating every few months with the scans.
So God’s been so good but still needs our prayers with this process. And Josh has been on a spiritual journey. And sometimes when I go through the day, when I go through the week and I think about what bothers and then I think about what really matters and the blessedness of life, it’s convicting to me. And Josh, you are a great encouragement to me and I want you to be an encouragement to our church. He’s gonna sing a song for us right now. The song is entitled Blessings.
[Blessings From 0:40:48 to 0:45:04]
[Applause] So what if the things we get mad about, what if the things that make us go in directions of wrong decisions, what if those are blessings in disguise? What if God says, “I don’t want you to change your address. I want you to change your heart focus. I don’t want you to leave your family, I want you to focus on me.” Sometimes I think about the problems I hear about and the counseling that I’m involved with and the pettiness of it all, folks, God’s grace is sufficient. Godliness with contentment is great gain. And some of us need to repent of a selfish spirit and of our self-willed plans and we need to come back to the center of God’s will and say, “Lord, forgive me. I’m back to focus on you.”
And if you’ve never come to know the Lord as your savior, you don't know Him personally, then today you can come to the Lord. He’ll forgive your sin. He’ll give you a home in heaven and you’ll find there is great gain in Jesus Christ alone.
[End of Audio]