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We’re about to slice a piece of the bread of life, the word of God. And today’s slice comes from 1 Timothy 6:3-10:
Some false teachers may deny these things, but these are the sound, wholesome teachings of the lord Jesus Christ, and they are the foundation for a godly life. Anyone who teaches anything different is both conceited and ignorant. Such a person has an unhealthy desire to quibble over the meaning of words. This stirs up arguments ending in jealousy, fighting, slander, and evil suspicions. These people always cause trouble. Their minds are corrupt, and they don’t tell the truth. To them religion is just a way to get rich. Yet true religion with contentment is great wealth. After all, we didn’t bring anything with us when we came into the world, and we certainly cannot carry anything with us when we die. So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content. But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is at the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.
The title of today’s message is “Plimsoll Contentment.” The word “contentment” I got from today’s slice of the bread of life, verse 6: Yet true religion with contentment is great wealth.
The word Plimsoll I will explain:
Samuel Plimsoll was a man with a burden. He became aware of the terrible dangers faced by sailors. Every year, hundreds of seamen lost their lives on ships that were dangerously overloaded. Greedy ship owners seeking greater profit were more than willing to put the lives of others at risk. Ships left port loaded almost to the deck line only causing many to sink. This was O.K. with the owners as they stood to collect even more money from the insurance.
In 1873 411 ships sank, taking many men to their watery graves. To make matters even worse, if a man signed up for a voyage, he could not back out, even if he found the ship to be unsafe. The law supported the ship owners by making it a crime to jump ship. These ships were nicknamed “coffin ships.”
The problem became Plimsoll’s mission. His idea was simple. Every ship should have a load line painted on it’s sides, indicating when it was overloaded.
Plimsoll ran for Parliament, was elected and, gradually he won public opinion and shamed the government into taking action. The “Unseaworthy Vessels Bill” was passed in 1875. It became an international standard. Today, in every port in the world you will see the results of Plimsoll’s work. It is called the “Plimsoll Line.”
Perhaps life would be a lot easier if there were a Plimsoll mark for people. Navigating life requires safeguards. So, let’s look at some Biblical insights into load limits. We will not arrive safely at our destination unless we understand God’s Plimsoll line.
A magazine, “Fast Company” addressed, in secular terms, the issue of load limits that might just work. It begins with, “How Much is Enough?”
Things to consider: How much compensation for your work is enough? How much public glory should satisfy your ego? How much opportunity for private reflection should it take to deepen your understanding? And, no matter how much “stuff” you have, how do you define satisfaction? Tough question for a “Christ-follower.”