Once upon a time
1 Timothy 6: 6-10; 17-19 (NRSVA)
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.
17 As for those who in the present age are rich, command them not to be haughty, or to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but rather on God who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18 They are to do good, to be rich in good works, generous, and ready to share, 19 thus storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of the life that really is life.
The wonderful GK Chesterton wrote “If you really read the fairy-tales, you will observe that one idea runs from one end of them to the other — the idea that peace and happiness can only exist on some condition. This idea, which is the core of ethics, is the core of the nursery-tales. The whole happiness of fairyland hangs upon a thread, upon one thread.”
Cinderella had to be back before midnight. All the fairies — good and evil — had to be invited to Sleeping Beauty’s christening. Pandora was never to open the box.
Many people say that contentment itself is a fairytale. But Paul says to Timothy that contentment can be achieved, on one condition. That condition is trust — not in money, which pierces us with grief — but in God, provider of true riches.
How unoriginal of us, to keep copying the same sin over and over.
“Trust me”, you say. “Be content. I am God.”
“Not likely”, we reply. “We would rather trust in this apple or in Apple or some other fruit of our own creation.”
“Stay with me” you say, ‘Be content. I am God.’
“Happily ever after?” we scoff, “That’s for children. Life hurts. Best focus on what feels good. Best build barriers against the pain.”
“Your pain is mine,” you say. “Be content. I am God.”
“It’s not enough,” we protest, “let us go our own way. You don’t really care, you can’t. It’s everyone for themselves.”
“Let me tell you a story,” you say. “Be content. I am God.”