Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows … Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life. (1 Timothy 6:6-10, 17-19)
Money, Money, Money
Contentment is a hard mistress to satisfy. The passions that dwell in the heart drive the soul to burn in a lust for money, prestige and power. Wars have been fought over the glitter of gold, nations conquered to possess lands filled with wealth and lives destroyed over the lust for the sweet smell of riches. God’s people have not been exempt from the pressures of the green kryptonite of the dollar as it hypnotizes the eyes to lust for money and doing everything in a man’s power to gain more and more and more and more. Having enough is always beyond the horizon of tomorrow as men spend their lives amassing fortunes of wealth to spend on earthly pleasures only to find at the end of life the value of gold is fleeting in the dust of time. Death is the equalizer of all men and death is the reminder that riches are temporary. James R. Cope said that money cannot buy a baby’s smile. How sad that so many learn this too late. Instead of living each day for the family to be content with what is necessary for survival, men work endless hours with endless days to have all the best in life; neglecting the family and learning their wives and children are strangers that have little love for them. Women who abandon the home in search of greater things that sparkle and charm learn too late the role of motherhood is being content with such things as bring true happiness. Lusting after riches brings nothing but sorrow, pain and disappointment. Many turn their hearts away from God to serve the almighty god of money. And to what end? Gaining the world and losing their eternal life is a price too many will pay for a moment’s reckless folly of gold, silver and diamonds.
There is greater gain in learning to be content than to seek the empty pleasures of riches. Self-satisfaction is the reliance on what is needed is all that is desired. Food and clothing fills the body with nutrients and keeps the body warm. Eating a plate of simple foods will sustain the body as well as filling it with expensive delights. Wearing warm clothes that cost a few dollars will protect the body was well as material costing hundreds of dollars. The evil is not in the dollar but the heart that desires to fill the mind with the need for riches. Temptations are heightened when money increases. There is a desire to indulge in forbidden things because money is no longer hindered. Greed destroys the faith and trust in God. Lusts are easily fulfilled with the love of money. Lives are destroyed because as riches increase the heart is left unchecked in its lusts for pleasure. Life is consumed with the accumulation of stuff and the worry that others will steal away what is gained and the never ending desire for more and more. Forgotten is that all men come into the world naked and they will leave this world naked. Therein the lesson is learned. The eternal truth of life is that nothing we possess is ours save our eternal destiny. That is the only real thing we have that will never be taken away from us. What we do with that eternal destiny is the choice we make in life.
Riches are not sinful. Loving money more than God is where the destruction of the heart begins. Using the blessings of wealth for the glory of God is the heart of the disciple of Christ. Being haughty or arrogant of riches will make a miser heart filled with evil. Trusting in the uncertain riches of the world is useless and vain. Allowing the Lord God to fill the heart and trusting in His blessings will allow those blessed with riches to show His glory in their lives. First it comes from knowing all blessings come from God. Second it is realized the bounty of riches can be used for the work of the Lord in doing good, ready to give to others and willing to share what is given by God’s hand to those in need. Unlike the rich fool who tried to store his riches in a new barn, those who are content treasure up their hearts a good foundation for the time to come looking for the riches of eternal life as their reward. Riches come from God both in the physical and the spiritual world. Whatever a man has must be recognized as a blessing from the Lord. Seeing that material blessings are tools to be used in the kingdom of God for His glory allows a man to share what God has given him to those who are in need. Being content brings about the spiritual riches of God’s grace. Money is not the issue. The heart is the answer. As the heart goes so go the riches. People of God pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience and gentleness whether they are rich or poor. This is especially noteworthy for those who are rich. What a powerful example of faithfulness to God when those blessed with earthly wealth show their spiritual wealth by the way they use their earthly wealth.