God’s Formula for Gains
Praise God we serve a living Savior! And because He lives, He is able to direct our steps and lead us to the path of His purpose. He reassures us in Jeremiah 29:11 ESV that He knows His plans for us. His plan is to prosper us and not to harm us and to give us a future and a hope. And just like the worldly principle of business, every good plan is not only discussed by mere words. It usually comes with an outline or diagram or pattern which clearly explains the details and mechanics of the said plan. God had always been a God of patterns. When He was about to destroy the earth by flood during Noah’s time, He gave a pattern for Noah to follow in building the Ark (Genesis 6:14-16). Then again in Moses’ time, He instructed Moses to make sure that he followed the pattern shown to him by God in building the Ark of the Covenant ( ESV Genesis 25:40). And there are many more blueprints that God instructed His chosen leaders to follow strictly to make sure they are according to the standards of God. The result of such obedience and compliance to the pattern of God is success and victory.
Now let’s take a look at God’s formula for gains. What pattern has already been laid down by the Bible on this important issue? 1Timothy 6: 6-8 clearly provides “But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.” God’s formula for gain therefore is “godliness + contentment = gain”.
The first step is to develop godliness. When God created man, He created him in His image and likeness (ESV Genesis 1:27). Therefore that sense of godliness has already been there since creation. The only thing is that created man never found it in his heart to appreciate the God created him nor did he ever express interest in knowing Him. There is not a single verse in Genesis 1 to 3 or the period in the Garden of Eden where man ever asked about God or any expression of thanksgiving for everything that God gave him or for those that he would rule and subdue, more importantly, for having created Him. In fact, Genesis 2:20 reveal man’s disinterest in fellowshipping with God. While God provided created beasts and birds to help him with his task so man could find time to fellowship with God, Adam rejected the idea. That is why it states there, “but for Adam (not God), no suitable helper was found”. The beasts and the birds were not the ultimate helper. Psalm 118:6 states “The Lord is my helper, I am not afraid. What can man do to me?” Man’s ultimate helper is God.
Godliness simply means having a sense of God or to partake of His nature. That is why Ephesian 5:1 encourages us to be imitators of God. Having God in our lives is the best thing that could ever happen to us. God told Abraham just before He confirmed His promise of granting him the impossible blessing of bearing a child in his old age through his barren wife that God is his shield and exceedingly great reward ( Genesis 15:1). If we focus on Jesus, we will find out that like Peter, He is not only able to keep us from sinking but He enables us to walk in the supernatural or the “un” natural. To do the things beyond the natural way, you need to look at Jesus and follow His pattern and not the pattern of the world, which is subject to time and decay and all other natural limitations. That is why God reminded us in Romans 12: 1-2 to renew our minds. And again in 1 Corinthians 2:16, that “we have the mind of Christ. God will not say so if it were not true. Except for the prophets and Levites, most of God’s chosen leaders in the olden times were prosperous. So surely, godliness was indeed the basic requirement for prosperity.
Let us now move to the issue of contentment. Before God created man, He already provided light, water, land and vegetation. Yet instead of finding time to survey and appreciate his surroundings, the created man had his thoughts filled with what he could not have. He coveted the forbidden fruit and found no time to appreciate what was around him. Modern man is still the same. From the day Adam coveted what he did not have or was forbidden to have; contentment has evaded the heart of man. Even if God already said that as long as you have food and clothing be contented, man sought riches, power and fame. He longed to rule without limits and so as God said in 1Timothy 6:9-10, these men fall into snares leading to destruction and ruin. They wander from the faith and pierce themselves with all sorts of grief. A discontented man will never be happy and peaceful. But contentment could not be learned in universities and work places. It could not be duplicated by technology nor re-invented by laboratories. Contentment can only be derived from God. It is a gift from God. Ecclesiastes 5:19-20 (ESV) states” Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil—this is the gift of God. For he will not much remember the days of his life because God keeps him occupied with joy in his heart.” Two things are established here. First, it is God who gives the wealth and possession. Deuteronomy 8:18 says we are to remember the Lord our God for it is he who gives the ability to produce wealth. Second, when God grants you contentment, man will not be anxious with the days of his life because his heart is occupied with joy. He will hardly notice the things around him, what he has or what he lacks because his heart is kept pre-occupied by God.
In closing, learn to follow the pattern of God. The mighty men of old never failed to enjoy their lives because God did not only bless them materially, they were blessed with the presence of the Lord all their lives. Meditate on His words in Psalm 112 : 1-3
“1 Praise the Lord! Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, Who delights greatly in His commandments. 2 His descendants will be mighty on earth; the generation of the upright will be blessed. 3 Wealth and riches will be in his house, and his righteousness endures forever”.