Paul says, in 1 Timothy 6, that "godliness with contentment is great gain." The context here involves money, but I've been thinking a lot about the broader context. What is the value of godliness in this life? As a 58 year old who's been seriously seeking the Lord for a long time sometimes I wonder what it's accomplished in my life.
Godliness doesn't make you famous. It doesn't make you rich. It doesn't make you especially popular. If a billionaire and a godly person both attend a party who do you think will get the most attention and respect? In fact, a truly godly person often flies under the radar since they frequently deflect the attention toward others. And people get used to their godliness after a while and it no longer seems remarkable. The male culture, in particular, tends to value other traits more highly than godliness. Uber-masculinity is more about dominance of some sort rather than gentleness and humility.
In fact, in the world's eyes, meekness seems like weakness (though I'm not implying that godly people can't show boldness or raw courage-look at Jesus during the crucifixion).
Godliness doesn't win many prizes in our world system. Yet I've come to see that this doesn't matter. Godliness does matter where it counts. Godliness matters to God. He values it immensely. Godliness also brings "great gain" in this life. It enriches all of our relationships. It protects us from the predatory ravages of sin. It opens the door to deep ministry to others. And there is real joy and pleasure in godliness. From the outside it may look like a bothersome constraint but from the inside it's a vale of freedom. It's delightful to walk comfortably in the constant presence of our Dear Lord. All of life's pleasures pale beside the pleasure of closeness with God.