Join our mailing list

The Honor of Contentment - Luke 12, 1 Timothy 6, HCLD 44

A service plan focused on the need for us to find contentment with what we have as the antidote to greed, envy, and coveting in a series on the Ten Commandments, as explained in the Heidelberg Catechism.

Worship Service

Theme of the Service

The tenth commandment speaks about "coveting." The Bible uses "envy" and "greed" as synonyms. This service centers on the need for contentment in material possessions as the antidote to greed, envy, and coveting.


We suggest a number of resources that will be valuable tools for you in this study of the Ten Commandments.

  • Each week we will provide references for you from the Heidelberg Catechism and both the Larger and the Shorter Westminster Catechism.
  • The website of the Center for Excellence in Preaching at Calvin Theological Seminary also provides sermon ideas for each of these commandments and Lord's Days.
  • Comfort and Joy: A Study of the Heidelberg Catechism, Andrew Kuyvenhoven, Grand Rapids: CRC Publications, 1988.
  • Our Only Comfort: A Comprehensive Commentary on the Heidelberg Catechism (vol. 2), Fred Klooster, Grand Rapids: Faith Alive Christian Resources, 2001.
  • The Ten Commandments: Manual for the Christian Life, Jochem Douma, tr. Nelson D. Kloosterman, Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R Publishing, 1996.
  • Mere Morality: What God Expects from Ordinary People, Lewis B. Smedes, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing, 1983.

Catechism References:
Heidelberg Catechism, Lord's Day 44
Westminster Larger Catechism, Q.146-148
Westminster Shorter Catechism, Q.79-81


Prelude: "Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing" [see <href="#music" >music notes]
and/or: "Guide Me, O My Great Redeemer"

The Call to Worship

*Song: "Guide Me, O My Great Redeemer" PsH 543, PH 281, RL 50, TH 598, TWC 634, UMH 127 [see <href="#music" >music notes]

*Our Declaration of Trust and God's Greeting:
Congregation of Christ, in whom are you trusting?
Our help is in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth.
Grace, mercy and peace to you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

*Song of Response: "Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing" PH 356, PsH 486, RL 449, TH 457, TWC 45, UMH 400 [see<href="#music" >music notes]


The Sung Call to Confession
What is the great and first commandment?
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul
and with all your mind.
What is the second commandment like it?
Love your neighbor as yourself.
What does this mean?
Love is the fulfilling of the law.
To what does this call us?
To a life of faith working through love. (The Worship Sourcebook, 2.7.5, based on Matthew 22:37-40)

Our Prayer of Confession [see <href="#liturgy" >liturgy notes]
Let us respond to God's call and make confession of our sins before him:
Generous God,
giver of every good and perfect gift,
we are grateful that you faithfully provide for our needs.
We constantly desire more,
we quickly become dissatisfied,
and we easily envy what others have.
Forgive us of our greed;
cure us of our idolatry;
and teach us contentment.
In the name of Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.

The Assurance of God's Pardon: Psalm 103:8-13

The Call to Grateful Living: Matthew 6:25-34

Song of Response: "The Ten Commandments" PsH 153:1, 8, 9, TH 724:1, 8, 9
or: "The Lord Is God, the One and True God" SNC 73


The Reading of the Heidelberg Catechism: Lord's Day 44, Q&A 113 [see <href="#liturgy" >liturgy notes]

*Song of Preparation: "Seek Ye First" PH 333, PsH 209, SFL 155, TWC 447, UMH 405, WOV 783

The Prayer for Illumination

The Gospel Reading: Luke 12:13-21
The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God!

The Epistle Reading: 1 Timothy 6:6-10
The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God!

Sermon: The Honor of Contentment
Shaping Our Gratitude 12

The Prayer of Application

Sung Prayer: "Lord, Be Glorified" RN 172, SFL 71, SNC 43, SWM 206, TWC 537
or: "Take, O Take Me As I Am" SNC 215, SWM 227


Anthem: "He Never Failed Me Yet," Ray [see <href="#music" >music notes]
or: "He Leadeth Me," Clark

*Our Renewed Vows of Obedience [see <href="#liturgy" >liturgy notes]

*Hymn of Response: "My Shepherd Will Supply My Need" PH 172, PsH 550 [see <href="#music" >music notes]

The Prayers of the People

The Offertory:
The Offering of Music: "My Shepherd Will Supply My Need" [see <href="#music" >music notes]
We offer our gifts for..


*Words of Sending: Colossians 3:5 [see <href="#liturgy" >liturgy notes]

*The Benediction with Congregational Amen!

*Sung Response: "If You But Trust in God to Guide You" PH 282, PsH 446, RL 151, SFL 210, TH 670, TWC 636

Postlude: "If You But Trust in God to Guide You" [see <href="#music" >music notes]

* You are invited to stand.

Sermon Notes

Since this is the final service in this series, it may be helpful to begin with a review of the theme of the series, gratitude. Moving on to examine the tenth commandment, we see there is something very countercultural in this commandment. The culture in which most of us live thrives on the purchase of things and often the significance of a person is determined by economic status (verified by possessions). Into such a setting this commandment comes like a cold shower!

Although the Heidelberg Catechism does not deal extensively with this commandment, both the Larger and Shorter Westminster Catechism do. Covetousness is an internal matter of the heart, and defining it is as difficult as identifying it in ourselves. The two New Testament passages should help.

In the gospel passage (Luke 12), the story begins with a family argument about an inheritance. Jesus identifies the evil as "greed" (verse 15). He personifies greed as a man whom he first describes as rich, desirous of bigger barns, and eager to eat, drink and be merry, but then he adds that he is a "fool" (verse 20) because he soon will have to give it all up. In the final verse he succinctly identifies the philosophy of life behind this man as storing up "things" and ignoring the need to be "rich toward God" (verse 21). The philosophy of life may seem appealing but is intensely dangerous.

In Paul's inspired advice to Timothy the words are even more explicit and take the form of straightforward teaching. He sets up the ideal of being godly and content. Contentment is identified as that state in which we are satisfied with food and clothing without needing "extras." The love of money and the desire to be rich is indeed appealing but very dangerous. The craving to have more than the necessities easily sucks us into other problems which can eventually "plunge" us into ruin and destruction (1 Timothy 6:10).

Paul supplements this instruction in Colossians 3:5. He is speaking about seeking the "things above" because we are people who have been raised with Christ (see verse 1). When he identifies a number of evils that we must avoid, he does a curious thing with covetousness. He stops and inserts a parenthetical phrase which identifies it as "idolatry." Covetousness is the uncontrolled desire to acquire. Behind this desire is the evil of idolatry. Coveting is deifying material possessions so that through them we achieve our identity and our sense of worth. (It is necessary to be clear that God does not claim being rich is sinful, but the uncontrolled desire to get there is dangerous. Both the rich and the poor face special temptations and risks. God is addressing the state of heart that is bent on incessant acquiring.)

Christian persons and families are called to resist measuring their worth by things, to resist comparing themselves with others and what they possess, to resist equating happiness with ownership, and to examine our expression of concern for others as evidenced through our finances. The listener should be challenged to wrestle with some key questions: What is a necessity, and what is extra? Are we even able to know or draw the line between the two in western society? How much of the very system of our communities is shaped by the desire to acquire? What is the relationship between contentment and benevolence? What really is "rich toward God"?

Music Notes:

Glossary of Hymnal Abbreviations:
PH The Presbyterian Hymnal (Presbyterian Church USA; Westminster/John Knox Press)
PsH The Psalter Hymnal (Christian Reformed Church; Faith Alive Christian Resources)
RL Rejoice in the Lord (Reformed Church in America; W.B. Eerdmans Publishing Company)
RN Renew! (Hope Publishing Company)
SFL Songs for LiFE (children's songbook; Faith Alive Christian Resources)
SNC Sing! A New Creation (Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, Christian Reformed Church,
Reformed Church in America; Faith Alive Christian Resources)
SWM Sing With Me (children's songbook; Faith Alive Christian Resources)
TH Trinity Hymnal (Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Presbyterian Church in America; Great
Commission Publications)
TWC The Worshiping Church (Hope Publishing Company)
UMH The United Methodist Hymnal (United Methodist Publishing House)
WOV With One Voice (Augsburg Fortress)

Suggestions for prelude and alternative harmonizations, based on the two opening hymns of the service, can be found in the following resources:

NETTLETON ["Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing"]

Albrecht, Timothy. Grace Notes VIII. Augsburg 11-10970 [1999] (E-M)
Bish, Diane. The Diane Bish Organ Book, vol. 4. Fred Bock B-G0776 [1985] (M)
Callahan, Charles. Six Meditations on American Folk Hymns. Concordia 97-6140 [1992] (E-M)
Cherwien, David. Groundings. Augsburg 11-11119 [2001] (E-M)
Eggert, John. Partita on Nettleton. Concordia 97-6862 [2000] (adaptable [mostly] to piano; E)
Harris, David S. Ten Hymn Preludes in Trio Style, set 2. H. W. Grey. GB643 [1978] (E)
Hildebrand, Kevin. Easy Hymn Preludes for Organ, vol. 3. Concordia 97-7052 [2004] (E)
Hobby, Robert A. Three Hymns of Praise, set 6. Morningstar MSM-10-542 [2000] (E-M)
Manz, Paul. God of Grace. Morningstar MSM-10-599 [2004] (E-M)
Manz, Paul. Ten Chorale Improvisations, set 9. Concordia 97-5556 [1980] (E-M)
Martin, Gilbert. Two Preludes on American Hymn Tunes. H. W. Grey GSTC 962 [1972] (E-M)
Wood, Dale. Wood Works. SMP KK357 [1986] (E-M)
Young, Gordon. Variations on an American Hymn Tune. Fischer 9288 [1941] (M-D)

Carter, John. Folk Hymns for Piano. Hope 240 [1987] (E-M)
Carter, John. Hymns for Piano II. Hope 8197 [2003] (M)
David, Anne Marie. Here I Am, Lord. Augsburg ISBN 0-8006-7566-5 [2002] (M)
Medema, Ken. Sanctuary. Genevox 4181-16 [1989] (M)

Bish, Diane. Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing. Fred Bock BG0798 [1986] (4-5 octaves,
level 4)
McChesney, Kevin. Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing. (3-5 octaves) (E-M)

Alternative Harmonization for Piano:
Carlson, J. Bert. Let It Rip! At the Piano. Augsburg 11-11045 [2000]

CWM RHONDDA ["Guide Me, O My Great Redeemer"]

Barr, John G. Three Preludes on Hymn Tunes. H. W. Grey GSTC 01079 [1992] (E-M)
Carlson, J. Bert. A New Look at the Old. Augsburg 11-11009 [1999] (E-M)
Carlson, J. Bert. Augsburg Organ Library - Autumn. Augsburg ISBN 0-8006-7579-7
[2003] (E-M)
Haan, Raymond H. Welsh Hymn Tune Preludes. SMP KK426 [1989] (E-M)
Held, Wilbur. Those Wonderful Welsh, set 2. Morningstar MSM-10-842 [1992] (E-M)
Hobby, Robert A. Three Hymns of Praise, set 6. Morningstar MSM-10-542 [2000] (E-M)
Kerrick, Mary Ellen. All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name. (ed. Lyon, Sharron) Broadman 4570-31
[1976] (E-M)
Krapf, Gerhard. Sing and Rejoice, vol. 6. SMP KK339 [1986] (adaptable for piano; E)
Manz, Paul. God of Grace. Morningstar MSM-10-599 [2004] (M)
Manz, Paul. Ten Chorale Improvisations, set 5. Concordia 97-5257 [1974] (M)
Rotermund, Melvin. Five Preludes. Augsburg 11-6040 [1990] (E-M)

Organ, Anne Krentz. Piano Reflections for the Church Year. Augsburg Fortress 11-11209
[2001] (E-M)
Shackley, Larry. Celtic Hymn Settings for Piano. Hope 8117 [2001] (E-M)
Wilhelmi, Teresa. Hymns.Light Jazz Style Word. 301 0136 315 [1997] (M)

McChesney, Kevin. God of Grace and God of Glory. Concordia 97-6584 [1996] (3-5 octaves, M)

Alternative Harmonization for Piano:
Cherwien, David. Let It Rip! At the Piano. Augsburg 11-11045 [2000]

The anthem suggestions for this service are as follows:

Ray, Robert. "He Never Failed Me Yet." Jenson 44708014 [1982] (SATB with piano and opt. bass and drums; M)
Clark, Janelle A. "He Leadeth Me." Beckenhorst BP1245 [1985] (SATB and keyboard; E-M)

Alternative harmonizations and suggestions for offertory music can be found in:

RESIGNATION/CONSOLATION ["My Shepherd Will Supply My Need"]

Alternative Harmonization for Organ:
Busarow, Donald. All Praise to You, Eternal God. Augsburg 11-9076 [1980]

Callahan, Charles. Six Meditations on American Folk Hymns. Concordia 97-6140 [1992] (E-M)
Haan, Raymond H. Be Present Now. Morningstar MSM-10-566 [2004] (E-M)
Held, Wilbur. The Lord Is My Shepherd. Morningstar MSM-10-420 [1999] (E-M)
Martin, Gilbert. M. The Bristol Collection, vol. 2. Flammer HF-5078 [1975] (E-M)
Schalk, Carl. Easy Hymn Preludes for Organ, vol. 1. Concordia 97-7001 [2002] (E)
Wood, Dale. Wood Works. bk. 2 SMP KK400 [1989] (E-M)

Carter, John. Folk Hymns for Piano. Hope 240 [1987] (E-M)
Carter, John. Songs of the Shepherd. Hope 1967 [1996]
Leavitt, John. How Sweet the Sound. CPH 97-6891 [2000] (M)

Wagner, Douglas E. My Shepherd Will Supply My Need. SMP S-HB16 [1982] (3 octaves, E-M)

Suggestions for postlude, based on the closing hymn can be found in the following resources:

NEUMARK/WER NUR DEN LIEBEN GOTT ["If You but Trust in God to Guide You"]

Bach, J. S. Music for a Celebration, set 4. Morningstar MSM-10-579 [2005] (M)
Bach, J. S. Six Organ Chorals (Schubler, ed. Riemenschneider) Ditson [1952] (M)
Bach, J. S. The Liturgical Year (ed. Riemenschneider) Ditson [1933] (E-M)
Bach, J. S. Twelve Chorale Preludes (ed. Glynn) Schirmer 1441 (M)
Carlson, J. Bert. A New Look at the Old. Augsburg 11-11009 [1999] (E-M)
Cherwien, David. Interpretations, bk. 8. AMSI SP-105 [1991] (E-M)
Curry, W. Lawrence. Chorale Prelude on Bremen. Abingdon APM-283 [1963] (M)
Hildebrand, Kevin. Easy Hymn Preludes for Organ, vol. 3. Concordia 97-7052 [2004] (E)
Leupold, A. W. An Organ Book. Chantry Music Press [1960] (E-M)
Marpurg, Friedrich Wilhelm. Twenty-one Chorale Preludes. Augsburg 11-9506 [1967] (E-M)
Powell, Robert J. If You But Trust in God to Guide You. Morningstar MSM-10-873 [1994] (E-M)
Sedio, Mark. Let Us Talents and Tongues Employ. Augsburg 11-10718 [1996] (E-M)
van der Panne, Wim. Variaties over Wie maar de Goede God laat Zorgen. Musicript MR122
Walcha, H. Chorale Preludes, bk. 1. Peters 4850 (E-M)

Boertje, Barbara. Piano Improvisations for the Church Year. Unity 70/1194U [1998] (E-M)
Nordquist, John. Four Hymns for the Concert Pianist. Hope 301 [1983] (M-D)

Clisham, William F. If Thou But Suffer God to Guide You. Agape 1337 [1988] (3 octaves, E-M)
Kerr, J. Wayne. Danza. Choristers Guild CGB 340 [2003] (3-5 octaves, level 3)
Lowenburg, Kenneth. If Thou But Trust In God to Guide Thee. AGEHR AG-23005 [1992]
(2-3 octaves, M)

Liturgy Notes

1. You will notice again that the Prayer of Confession is tailored to this commandment. This may be read by the worship leader as a representative of all, or it may be read in unison by all worshipers. It may also be wise, either with the Call to Worship or the Call to Confession, to focus on the theme of the tenth commandment.

2. We suggest that the words of the Heidelberg Catechism be read responsively with the congregation. You may either design this so that the worship leader reads the question and the congregation responds with the answer, or vice versa. To reprint for personal use, a ministry setting, or classroom use, include this credit line: © 1987, CRC Publications, Grand Rapids MI. Reprinted with permission. You may want to consider using the words of the Westminster Catechism for a more specific commentary.
What is God's will for you
in the tenth commandment?
That not even the slightest thought or desire
contrary to any one of God's commandments
should ever arise in my heart.
Rather, with all my heart
I should always hate sin
and take pleasure in whatever is right. (Lord's Day 44, Q&A 113, Heidelberg Catechism)

3. For each Sunday in this series, the service includes a section after the sermon entitled "We Respond with Our Renewed Commitments." The worshiper should feel led to such a response after the Word has spoken. The Commandments, in one of its forms, should be the substance of this commitment. There is a variety of resources you may draw from. Section 2.7 of The Worship Sourcebook (pp. 127-137) provides a variety of resources for this purpose. The Psalter Hymnal (pp. 1013-1018) provides additional responsive readings of the Ten Commandments.
To reprint responsive readings of the Ten Commandments for personal use, a ministry setting, or classroom us, include this credit line: © 1987, CRC Publications, Grand Rapids, MI. . Reprinted with permission.

4. We suggest that Colossians 3:5 be used as the words of sending at the conclusion of worship. However, these words are understood best in the context of the first four verses of this chapter. It will be helpful to read all five verses, but to do so in such a way that the emphasis is placed on verse 5.