I Timothy 6:6-10 “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”

This past week four of us from the congregation attended the annual Banner of Truth Ministers’ Conference. It was a ‘great’ conference, and the speakers were ‘great.’ The meals in Leicester are ‘great’, and there was ‘great’ fellowship. The Banner of Truth had some ‘great’ book offers. We all had a ‘great’ time.

All that is true, but my repetition of that adjective serves to show how we Christians can destroy a word by overuse like anyone else. When everything is ‘great’ then nothing is ‘great’ and then the world adds its intolerable expletives. Yet the Bible itself will judiciously use this over-used adjective in a wonderfully measured way. “Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised” says the psalmist. When Gabriel announces to Mary the coming of the Son of God the angel tells her “He will be great.” The author of the Hebrews asks the question, “How shall we escape if we escape so great salvation?” And the apostle Paul in this very letter says, “Great is the mystery of godliness” Though the world over-uses the word we’ll certainly not stop using it. We’ll sing, “How great Thou art,” “Great is Thy faithfulness,” “Great is the gospel of our glorious God,” and “Great God of wonders all thy ways are matchless, godlike and divine.”

The area in which we part company with the world is not that we never use the word ‘great’ but that the world uses it for things that are merely relatively great, whereas we use the word for realities that are absolutely great. You know the difference between things being relatively great and absolutely great? The mayor of Aberystwyth is a great office in our small town, but in New York the cab drivers have not heard of Wales let alone Aberystwyth. The mayor of their city holds the greatest mayoral office in the world. Our Welsh mayor is relatively great. Or think of the highest mountain in England and Wales, Snowdon in north Wales. It is such an interesting and beautiful peak, but if you put it alongside the Matterhorn in Switzerland it would shrink to a hill, or if you set it down in the Himalayas it would seem like a molehill. It is relatively great. One could multiply such examples. The point is this, that the man in the street has no absolute standards at all. He is without God and his blessed Son, and so for him a band, or a certain team, a local brew, a rugby player, that programme, that record, that good-looking girl, or that motor bike are all ‘great.’ Without God all that the unbeliever has to take pride in are his own tastes, and he believes that what he spends his time and money on are ‘really great,’ but we know that such things are only relatively great, because yesterday’s greats are today’s has-beens. And today’s great ones will be tomorrow’s forgotten men. The gifts which were ‘great’ on Christmas Day lie gathering dust in the corner by the new year. But the Lord Jesus Christ’s life and teaching are unchangeably great, yesterday, and today and for ever. When the Bible describes something as ‘great’ then it is indeed great.

1 Godliness is Great Gain. (v.6)

What is remarkable about our text is that the apostle Paul is not describing as ‘great’ the living God but godliness. “Godliness … is great gain.” Godliness is New Testament shorthand for truly living the Christian life. It is the life of discipleship, of following the Lord Jesus day by day. It is great gain, the Bible is saying, to have given up what you could never have kept to gain what you will never lose. Let me make this as practical as I can. What most of you will be doing this coming week in your homes and places of work, conscientiously serving the Saviour in your vocations – those simple actions done for the Lord – eating and drinking to the glory of God – are great, says Paul. He is boosting Timothy’s morale and that of the whole Ephesian congregation, and ours too. What you will be doing for God and your neighbours throughout this year, as those favoured people who are joined to Jesus Christ, is absolutely great. The giving of a cup of cold water in the name of Jesus, to lovingly care for your family, to display an attitude of forgiveness, the going of the second mile – such things are the actions of true greatness.

The apostle speaks of the godly man’s “great gain.” What has he gained? The knowledge of God as his Father. He has gained the Lord Jesus Christ as his teacher, and as his advocate before God. He has gained the indwelling comfort and resources of the Holy Spirit. He gains deliverance from the bondage of his addictions. He has gained true freedom – the chains which bound him to his past life have been broken as if they had been made of cotton. He has gained new friends, a new book, a new day, a new hope, a new purpose, and new power to fulfil that purpose. To live the life of godliness is great. To be a true Christian is great gain. Who would exchange anything of this absolute greatness for the relative greatnesses that this world brags about?

This past week I listened to Simo Ralevic of Yugoslavia speaking about how he and his family survived NATO’s bombing of Kosovo. When the bombardment ended, and before the United Nations soldiers moved in there was a lot of retaliatory violence, murder, looting and arson, and it was necessary for Serbs like Simo to flee Kosovo in order to survive. He spoke to us, and I wrote down these words, “My wife left with a daughter and son three days before me. I stayed until the last of the congregation had left Pec, but there was this snag, that we did not have any transportation. Then, on Saturday 13 June, we had a call from a local police-station which had been abandoned. There were five damaged cars there and they were being offered to us. My son quickly repaired three cars so that the last three of our church families could leave. Then out of the blue my son Timothy came with a lorry to pick us up. The town was in ruins, and I had to leave it, but I was still hesitating even though there was not one Serb left on our street. Finally I decided to go on the next day. My last days there I wept day and night, but I was unable to help anyone else. There were no other members of the church to take care of, and my two sons said, ‘Dad, you have to go.’ I felt they were like the two angels urging Lot to leave Sodom.

“We had this big lorry which was God’s provision, and I had hoped to fill it with the tons of Christian literature at our warehouse. Then there came to us a Serbian family whom we knew and they had failed to leave Pec, and they had no transport. They were terrified and pleaded with us for help. So I had to choose between all our boxes of books, many of which I had translated and which had been paid for by Christians all over the world, or that one non-Christian family. There was no real choice and little hesitation, and the family and their few belongings left with us for Serbia. The father and mother of this family were communists. They said to me, ‘We had many friends who were communists but they all left us. You took us. You are a wonderful man.’ I told him that it was all of God’s grace. The journey of 24 hours was tough, as we were continually shot at as we drove through the forests. We finally got to a small town in Serbia where there was a church which we had started many years ago, where the people love us. The other families of the congregation came with us, and we have found old houses to rent, and we continue to preach, print and work. The family we brought with us settled there too. Two of them have been saved and baptised.”

I have opened a window for you to look at the life of a godly man in extreme danger. He is concerned for his family, and for his congregation but for his neighbours too. He does what he can to show his love for them. That is greatness in our sight, let alone God’s. Consider all that that Serb family have gained since the time Simo Ralevic took them aboard his truck and off to safety, both in this world and the next. Godliness is great gain both for ourselves and for all who will hear us. Paul is simply re-echoing here what he has already said earlier, that “godliness has value for all things” (I Tim. 4:8). We, probably, will never be asked to make such heroic decisions and live through such evil times as Simo Ralevic has. But, then, who knows what lies in the future for our country and the cause of Christ? When Christian visitors from England were driven around the beautiful country of Yugoslavia twenty years ago no one dreamed that it would be ravaged by a horrible civil war and be bombed by British planes. To best prepare for the uncertain future we are to live godly today.

2. Godliness with Contentment is Greater Gain.

Godliness is gain, if you mean spiritual gain, and also if you are contented with what you have gained from God. In this way the apostle introduces to us a familiar theme of his, that of Christian contentment. The primary meaning of the word ‘contentment’ is to be independent of one’s circumstances. It was a term used by the Stoic philosophers. It meant that a man did not depend upon his outward circumstances, or his environment. He had something in himself which left him able to cope, and be at peace, in and of himself. He is a man at peace with the world, and at peace with God, no matter what his own situation may be.

The apostle is speaking of the Christian’s emotional condition. Contentment is a feeling of trust, joy, fulfilment and integration. When the apostle writes about this to the Philippians he tells them, “I have learned in whatever state I am to be content” (Phils. 4:11). It is an extraordinary statement. There are no circumstances, and no set of possibilities in which he could be fail to be contented. There is nothing in that great objective external world all around him that could possibly take his peace of mind from him. The apostle tells us that he has learned to be independent emotionally of his circumstances, whatever they might be.

Think of those incidents in the apostle’s life which illustrate that that is not just rhetoric. There was the beginning of Saul of Tarsus’s life. He had to return to his parents from Damascus and tell those devout Jews that he believed that Jesus of Nazareth, whom their leaders had condemned to death because of his blasphemy, was in fact the long-expected Messiah, Jehovah come in the flesh. When his father heard of that his face would have grown black and he would have shown his son the door and announced a funeral service for him never seeing him again or even acknowledging that he existed. What was the apostle’s reaction? He counted all things loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus his Lord, for whom he had suffered the loss of all things, and counted them as rubbish, that he may gain Christ (Phils. 3:8). “My parents have thrown me out like some rubbish, but I have gained Christ. It’s no loss to gain God, even if you lose your home. I am not complaining.”

Then think of an incident in the middle of the apostle’s life, when he and Silas went to Philippi. They were unjustly arrested, whipped, thrown into prison and put in the very bottom dungeon of the jail, where there was no light at all, and all the waste water dripped down. It was a black stinking hole and they even had set up some stocks there to prevent the prisoners adjusting their bodies to relieve the pain of their aching backs. Pinned down in that darkness, facing an uncertain future, hot with the injustice of their treatment yet at midnight they prayed and sang praises to God. That illustrates perfectly the way the apostle had achieved contentment in every kind of circumstance. The situation was so bleak, and yet as you stand outside the dungeon door and listen you hear something else – joy and trust in God. Their emotional condition bore no relationship at all to that precise providential situation. It was not the prison that determined how they felt. It was not the darkness, nor the pain, nor the smell, nor the injustice, not the uncertainty, nor the stocks that determined the way Paul and Silas were feeling. Their frame of mind was altogether independent of their objective circumstances. They were actually contented men there!

Consider again the end of Paul’s life. He is once again in prison, but now in Rome. It is an imprisonment of tremendous rigour and passion, of inconvenience and discomfort, of uncertainty and injustice. Paul feels that “the time of my departure is at hand” (2 Tim.4:6). Very soon he thinks he is going to seal his testimony to Christ with his own blood. Yet he is content: “The Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory forever and ever. Amen!” (2 Tim.4:18). In his final letters there is no despair, and no frustration. So it is all through his life, when he is persecuted by the Jews, carrying the cares of all the churches, suffering the hostility of so many professing Christians, meeting the scorn and ridicule of false apostles, still he is a contented man. Think of all the hardships he endured on his missionary journeys, and yet those things did not dictate how he felt. He would not allow them to destroy his peace of mind, and his sense of assurance.

So to all of us who would live a godly life in Jesus Christ we must lay down this great principle, that the Christian is a contented man. This is normative Christianity. The godly man has no right before God to be discontented. If we are not contented today before God then we are sinning against our whole Christian faith. We say that our God is Sovereign, that he is too wise to be mistaken and too good to be unkind. That he works all things after the counsel of his own will and that they all work together for our good. So it is a sin for a believer not to be content. It is as sinful as hating one’s brother. It is as sinful as judging people censoriously. It is as sinful as not praying. We have no right before God to be discontented because of our circumstances. It is utterly wrong for the believer. It contradicts all we say in the gospel to the sinner, that we have come to Christ and he has given us rest.

Then you see what we do, we plead our situation, and we say, “If you only knew my problems then you would know the reason why I am discontented, and that I have every right not to be contented.” But if what the New Testament is teaching is correct then it is saying to us that there are no circumstances and no combination of events which can ever justify the child of God being discontented. No matter who appallingly difficult our lives may be we are still bound to be content, and by God’s grace can achieve that. We have no right not to be, and we can never plead the circumstances as justifying our own discontentedness.

Let me ask this question, and let me address myself with it first of all. Do I really think that no matter what Paul felt and what the New Testament teaches, that there is something so different and unique in my situation that I am exempt from this principle? Do I think, “I must be godly, but contentment is an option.” Is that secretly what I think? Am I saying that I am beyond the scope of this marvellous passage? Am I saying that if Paul knew my situation and my difficulties he would understand and condone? I am suggesting to you that we are being taught by this passage that if we are truly godly men and women then we must also be contented men and women. We have no right to be discontented. No matter what our circumstances are we are not beyond the description of this mighty passage and the promise of God which is built into it. Godliness with contentment is great gain.

I do not believe that the apostle Paul was always contented. He had to battle with his heart like all of us. There were times when he was pressed down beyond measure and even despaired of life. I do not believe that Paul’s contentment extended to quietly accepting his moral and spiritual condition. I am sure that very often the apostle looked at his own life and said, ‘I am not content with my knowledge of Scripture, my prayer life, my love for God and for my fellow-men, the fruit I have borne.’ He was deeply discontented with all of that, and longed to serve Christ better. Neither do I believe that Paul was contented with all he saw in the Christian church around him. There was error being taught in some congregations, and there was ungodliness tolerated by some church leaders. There was ignorance and division and a party spirit, and the apostle did not turn a blind eye to it all and say, “I am contented.” He minded with every fibre of his being every single aberration in the church of Jesus Christ. Let us be careful not to abuse this great principle that the Christian is a contented man and forget that the Christian is also a godly man. Let us not make our commitment to contentment cause us to neglect our desire to see churches reformed and revived. The principle of the Christian being a contented man is not meant to justify inertia in the church. Paul did not mind the pain of a whipping, and being cold and hungry and thrown out by his family, but he minded every heresy and all the false prophets and any injustice in the church of the living God. The godly Christian must never lose his determination to change things. Pastor Ernest Reisinger once became the minister of a very run-down congregation and what he did was always to keep before himself a vision of two churches, the Ideal Church, and the congregation as it was. If he had lost the vision of the New Testament church he soon would have acquiesced in the state of the congregation before him. He kept them both before him, and his delight was to see the local church beginning to move imperceptibly towards the Ideal Church, first by baby steps and later by real steps.

How does a godly man gain contentment? He learns it. Do we understand the implications of this? Contentment is not a matter of personality. The apostle does not say that some godly people are also blessed with contented dispositions. He himself was not by nature an easygoing man. Far from it: he was an absolute bundle of energy, impatient, irritable, impulsive, forceful and driving. That was his temperament, but that was not how he was when his parents disinherited him, nor how he behaved in the Philippian jail, nor how he was when he wrote his last letter to Timothy from Rome. He had become a contented man. We have to realise that we cannot justify our own depressiveness and melancholy by pleading that that is our own particular temperament. I may have a lazy temperament by nature. I may have a boisterous temperament. I may be naturally egotistical. I don’t accept those things. I have to get to grips with my temperament. The Holy Spirit is determined to make us godly and that means we are on course for change. Every single Christian has a personality problem – a certain awkwardness of temperament, and none of us has the right simply to justify what we are. We have to commit ourselves to the sweet gentle changes that the Holy Spirit works in all his people. We learn through the seasons of a Christian life to be contented.

Leaning contentment also means that not all our impatience and anxiety and discontentment are overcome in one dramatic experience. Some may plead their temperament as an excuse for not being discontented. Others may teach that all that is needed is one great experience and everything will change – conversion or the second blessing. Would that it were so! But we cannot say that a church member who is not feeling contented today is not a Christian. We cannot say that in every real conversion contentment is bestowed upon a believer. We do not believe that at conversion every problem goes away. We do not believe that if a Christian gets an experience of the Spirit of God that he becomes instantaneously contented. For years after the Damascus Road Paul was not living at this level. He did not pick up pure abiding contentment when he first met Christ. He did not pick up pure abiding contentment through speaking in tongues more than others. I do not think that a Christian’s infirmities of temperament are overcome in one single experience. For me it is a delusion to take the biblical theology of revival and think, “If only the Spirit of God had been poured out upon me then I would know joy, peace, contentment and victory all the way.” For me that is blaming God for failing to do something which we have the responsibility of accomplishing through the assistance of the Spirit.

How does the godly man gain contentment? He learns it from the Bible. He learns it through God’s providential dealings with him. He deals with it through the long discipleship of the Christian life. I mean it very simply and literally. He goes to a church and sits under a ministry which periodically teaches him that contentment is a Christian duty. He learns it in a sermon. I think that that is very important. Are you learning from sermons? Have you learned that God expects you to be contented? Have you learned that being discontented is a sin? Sometimes we justify our sulking, and silences in prayer meetings, and becoming passengers in a church, and obvious boredom with God because we do not think that such attitudes are sinful in the sight of God. But I am saying that it is God’s will for us to be contented as well as being godly, the one as much as the other.

But more than that, when Paul tells us that he had learned contentment he is saying to us that it was a lesson that he had actually learned. He had not failed in this school. He had gained contentment by learning. Not by upbringing, and not because of his personality, but through learning he had become a contented man.

3. Learning Contentment is the Way of Gain.

How had Paul learned contentment? How can this be our attainment too? I think it is in two or three ways.

A] Firstly, in the seventh verse of our text, in recognising the transitoriness of every material object in the world. We are often discontented because of our materialistic expectations. So the apostle asks us, What did we bring into this world? Absolutely nothing. Naked and helpless we took our first breath. We were utterly dependent upon people we did not know or understand. They had to provide for us. And what can we take out of this world? Absolutely nothing. When we die and are buried we are naked and penniless again. As far as our earthly possessions are concerned our entry and our exit are identical. So all of us here today are at a point on a brief pilgrimage between two moments of nakedness, bringing nothing with us and taking nothing away with us.

John Stott refers to a minister taking a funeral service of a wealthy woman, and someone asked him in a half whisper how much she had left. “She left everything,” he said. That is the perspective that is going to influence you if you are gripped by it – and you should be. It does not matter how long I live, short or long, but when I die I will leave all my possessions behind. They are all the luggage of time. They are not the stuff of eternity. So travel light! The Lord Jesus commanded us not to accumulate selfishly treasures on earth.

Think of the uncertainty of every earthly treasure. You have accumulated wealth, and yet how vulnerable all that is. You invest in a mink coat and yet it is liable to being sprayed by an animal rights’ activist, or when the eggs of moths are hatched the maggots will eat away your finest wardrobe. You invest in grain, and you build your barns and hoard it all, and there the mildew and virus and vermin attack it, and all of it has to be destroyed. You purchase some antiques, a painting, some 17th century books, an Egyptian statue, some choice pieces of silver, but those are all liable to breakage and theft. You possess some earthly treasure and it is so vulnerable to the forces of destruction and greed and revolution and war. During this last century, whose very essence was change and decay, there was so little that could be guaranteed. Then let me be content with food and clothing, the apostle says (v.8). The word for ‘clothing’ there means literally a covering, and so it refers mainly to clothes, but also to a roof over our heads. Food, clothing and shelter – these are the three things we need for our journey. And the Lord has promised he will supply them.

Nothing else can be guaranteed. Let me remind you that this applies not only to consumer goods but to the most precious of our possessions, that even over our marriages themselves, and all the delights of family relationships – the love of husband for wife and of sister for sister – even over those there lies the great and solemn inscription – “till death us do part.” There is no way that we can frame our lives and set up security guards, even by Fort Knox standards, and ensure that a nything will be permanent. If the objects are physical then physical forces will destroy them. If the objects are personal then that last enemy that severs all personal relationships will destroy them. So the first way to learn contentment is to accept the transitoriness of all earthly possessions. If I lose everything, so what? I did not live for those things. That is what Simo Ralevic learned last winter when he bade farewell to his home and fled from Pec.

B] The second way is to see the folly of being dominated by the ache to get rich. “People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs” (vv. 9&10).

The apostle is not speaking here of those whom God incidentally enriches, who wisely use what they have to the good of their fellow men and the spread of the kingdom of God. Abraham was never condemned by God for his riches, and he is the father of all who believe. Paul is speaking about those who determine to be rich, who have a love of money. All kinds of evil comes from this. The itch for wealth is a trap. Adam and Eve, Achan, Judas, Ananias and Sapphira all came to grief through some form of covetousness. See Paul’s arguments here:-

i] Such men fall into temptation and a trap. There are so few people today whose integrity has not been compromised in some degree at least by this temptation. The very people whom we often expect to be the paragons of virtue in the community, professional people, doctors, those who own land and buildings and businesses, men elected to local government and national government, often discover that they cannot resist the temptation for personal gain that come to them through dishonest deals, and into that trap they have fallen.

ii] Again, they fall into many foolish and harmful desires. Money is like a drug, and covetousness is a drug addiction. The more you have, the more you want. When you have made your first million you want another million. Enough is simply another pound more. It is all so utterly irrational, for it is an attachment to something which in itself is totally without value. With all the harm that the love of money has done you would think that money must be something almost miraculous, that a rich man can do what a poor man cannot. But he cannot. It cannot enable you to wear two suits of clothes at the same time. It cannot enable you to drive two fancy cars at the same time. It cannot enable you to eat two mouthfuls of food at the same time. It cannot save you from death. It cannot save your soul. At death we bid good-bye to every penny. You have money, but the British pound is not worth anything in itself. Its worth is related to the stability of the government that circulates it and the economy of our land. And it is liable to boom and bust, to forces totally outside our control. What folly to live for something over which you have little control. How many farmers around us have extended their lands, bought more and more fields, but then have found, through factors totally out of their control, that there is nothing they can grow or raise on these fields that can make a profit, and every month they are losing, say, a thousand pounds.

iii] Again, these wrong desires for money “plunge men into ruin and destruction” (v.9). Paul pictures them as sinking and drowning. They have set their hearts on gain, and the end is total loss. Love of money drives men and nations into every conceivable type of crime, and sows seeds of despair and frustration. It destroys the hearts of men, the consciences of cities, and the honour of nations. Worst of all it has drawn Christians “from the faith” (v.10). They have been bought by rich men in their congregations or denominations. They have been given promotion on the understanding that they tone down their commitment to the Bible. They have gained pulpits with large congregations but they no longer preach the faith of the Bible. There have been many a modern Judas who has sold Jesus for pieces of silver.

Let us understand that contentment does not come from poverty, and this passage is not commending poverty itself, but a simplicity of lifestyle compatible with human dignity. We are to be content with that. This passage is not commending social injustice, or the rich exploiting the poor. We are, of course, committed to justice for men and women because it is godliness with contentment which is great gain.

C] Finally, contentment comes when we take our stand in life on this great principle, “Thy will be done.” We believe that that is where contentment and godliness become fused together to the mutual enrichment of both. There is this commitment of our hearts to this very simple principle, that what we want in life is the will of God. Then, as long as we know that this is the will of our loving heavenly Father, we will not quarrel.

There is no way that we Christians can say , “I delight to do thy will O God,” and then, when the Lord send leanness, or pain, or loss we get angry with God, or upset, or plaintive or annoyed. There is nothing a preacher will remind his congregation about as often as Romans 8:28, “For we know that all things work together for good to them that love God to them that are the called according to his purpose.” It is the clearest point we make in our counselling, but how difficult it is when a Christian has had the stuffing knocked out of her life by the most terrible of providences. It is immensely difficult to be contented in the aftermath of such grief. A Christian will say, “Pastor it is hard,” and it is hard.

There is no other way. Our hearts must be committed to the will of God. My mind must think in this way – “I am always going to get from God his will for me.” There is an old Puritan house in the middle of Chester, and across the front of the house is written these words, “God’s providence is my inheritance.” Nothing can rob us of that. Every day we get what God has determined for us. I must believe that. Sometimes it means gathering together every little bit of faith I have and focusing it all on a sweet and powerful Saviour. Very often that is the reason why we are not contented. We have made a plan for our lives, and have discovered that our life is not working according to that plan. We don’t want God’s plan at all. We want our plan.

Or there dawns on us the realisation that this pain has been God’s will for us – the absence of a husband, the absence of children, the heartache, the disappointment – but we cannot accept it as God’s will for us. We don’t want God’s will. We really like our own will. I would suggest to you that you must alter your perspective, and take your stand on this principle, “Thy will be done.”

Father, I wait Thy daily will;
Thou shalt divide my portion still;
Grant me on earth what seems Thee best,
Till death and heaven reveal the rest.
Then you would learn many things. Each day as you would rise you would find food and clothing. There will not be a day on which you cannot sing, “Great is Thy faithfulness O God my Father.” Because every day you have nothing but the cup that God has filled to overflowing. You see the marvel of that? The psalmist says, “Every day will I bless thee.” Every single day without exception. “I will praise thy name for ever and ever.” The voice of praise will never be silent from my lips, because each day you fill my cup and put it in my hand to drink. I know it will never be a cup of damnation. My Saviour has drunk that to the dregs for me. The cup he gives me is the cup of his providence and it is placed in my hands by the One whose hands were crucified for my sake.

Each day is the Lord’s workmanship. He has designed and filled it as he sees fit. There are those tremendous tides of opposition and confusion coming in, and I am as helpless as Canute to stop them. My friends are not understanding me, and my family is divided over the faith. In the pain of my own providence I can yet lay hold of this, that what I am getting is God’s will. The Saviour has not stepped down from the throne of the universe just for today so that a cruel chance or a mindless fate is reigning over my life. Every day I get God’s will. Every day I get my Father’s cup. Every day it is given to me from the hands of my Father. I have to stay there.

If peace and plenty crown my days,
They help me, Lord, to speak Thy praise
If bread of sorrows be my food,
These sorrows work my lasting good.
Godliness with contentment is great gain. This is the day that the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.

Geoff Thomas 16th April 2000