A Devout Life: Part 1
The Sufficiency of a Simple Life
A devout life does bring wealth, but it's the rich simplicity of being yourself before God. Since we entered the world penniless and will leave it penniless, if we have bread on the table and shoes on our feet, that's enough. (1 Timothy 6:6-8 MSG)
What is a "devout" life?
"Devout" at its root means to revere or adore, to feel deep respect or admiration for something, to love and respect someone deeply. The Greek root word is translated as "devout", "religious", or "worship".
A devout life, then, means a life lived reverently towards God, deeply respectful for His character and work, enjoying and adoring Him as Creator, Master, Savior, Companion, and Lover.
Paul is challenging an epidemic of envy, controversy, bad-mouthing, suspicious rumors, backstabbing and lies among people who claim to be Christians, including leaders who claim to speak on behalf of God. This sin-sick trend has at its root the business of getting money, and things that money can buy.
Paul's argument is that a pile of money is a poor imitation of what real wealth is. A life of business, in the sense of earning more money, cannot compare with the results of living a devout life.
Looking back at my life, I can recognize little that would qualify as devout. I've spent years enjoying His creation, but ignoring, even intentionally spurning, any notion of a Creator.
I can't say that I've lived a life of business. My treasure has not been in the form of cash or cars, but in recreation. I've invested heavily in hobbies, crafts, skills, arts, books, movies and study. I've hungered for emotional and intellectual comfort in learning and knowing. Were my intangible treasures heaped in a pile, they would tower over my home and threaten to overwhelm me under tons of weight.
But more and more I feel the need for devotion for God.
My hobbies and books have become tiresome and insufficient. My art and craft appeals to me less and less. My treasure is beginning to rust.
I know without a doubt that recreation in itself is not at all wicked. All of our earthly pursuits, including business and art, are innately human attempts to regain what we once had in Eden. We are all responding, usually perversely, to the deeply hidden, dimly darkened image of God that is stamped within us all. So, business and recreation are not wicked, but without God, without devotion to God, they are sadly insufficient.
How might I submit to God, allowing him to create within me a devout life?
- Daily remember the definition of "devout"
- Daily imagine a pile of treasure, rusty and moldy, of no value without God's providence and sovereignty.
- Daily look for opportunities to remind myself, and others, that God is our Creator, Master, Savior, Companion, and Lover.
Scripture taken from The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.
Ali Eminov, for "Sharing a sacred meal", https://flic.kr/p/ac8563, Creative Commons license, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/