I’m not sure what version of the Bible you read from, and if you follow the link above it takes you to New Living Translation, one of my favorites. In fact, it’s the version in my study Bible. So, today, as I was reading from my Bible, I noticed a very distinct difference in how this passage begins. In my Bible it says, “Christians who are slaves…” where in the NLT version on Biblegateway.com (source of the link above) it says “All slaves”. Interesting. I won’t spend a lot of time on this, but from a context perspective, it is my understanding that in the times Paul is writing, there was a huge gap between slaves and their masters. However, if a slave and master were both Christians, they became spiritual equals, or as we might say, brothers and sisters in Christ. To me, it is then that the rest of the verse makes sense.
As the reading continues, Paul is masterful in assuring us that what he has prescribed for godly living is sound and from the teachings of Jesus–what greater authority can there be! We all know that person, however, who likes to stir the pot or question these truths. There is so much behavior in our culture today, and I’m sure in Paul’s time, that is counter to this and many feel constrained by a life devoted to Christ.
Read v. 6, “Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth.” Ponder this for a moment until you feel like the richest person on the planet. You may need to put aside your current financial needs for just a moment lest they interfere with your feeling the enormous blessing you have as a follower of Jesus.
I’m struck again by the truth of verse 9. While I am not striving to be “rich”, I am hopeful that my current endeavors allow me the freedom for travel, and helping to build an orphanage in Haiti. I am asking God for provision for those dreams. What are you striving for in your life?
Let’s pray. Lord help me to stay focused on you and you alone. Don’t let the pressures of the world creep in and entice me to believe in something false. Help me discern and be faithful. As I look around at our world today, I am saddened by the hate, the anger, the doubt. I trust you have all this worked out, and I pray wisdom for leaders and not arrogance. I pray for love and not hate for all people. In Jesus’ name. Amen.