1 Timothy 6:2-10
Teach these things, Timothy, and encourage everyone to obey them. 3 Some people may contradict our teaching, but these are the wholesome teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. These teachings promote a godly life. 4 Anyone who teaches something different is arrogant and lacks understanding. Such a person has an unhealthy desire to quibble over the meaning of words. This stirs up arguments ending in jealousy, division, slander, and evil suspicions. 5 These people always cause trouble. Their minds are corrupt, and they have turned their backs on the truth. To them, a show of godliness is just a way to become wealthy.
6 Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. 7 After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it. 8 So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content.
9 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. 10 For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.
I grew up in a stereotypical affluent city in Southern California. Many of the kids I went to school with came from wealthy families who lived in huge houses (they were mansions to me), drove top of the line cars and wore every name brand item that hung on the rack. Unbeknownst to me, my dad made pretty good money back in those days, but like many kids in America, I felt neglected because my parents refused to give me everything my little greedy heart desired. Still, I always had enough food and plenty of clothing…
25 years later, Doug & I are now the parents who are trying to train our children (Proverbs 22:6) to be content. Fortunately, God’s Word provides all the answers we need. Unfortunately, however, there is much division among biblical teachers & preachers in regards to how God’s truth is to be applied. According to some, we, God’s children are heirs in His Kingdom; therefore, we should have faith for wealth, health and prosperity (just to name a few). Because, after all, God loves His children and wants to bless us…right?
According to Matthew 7:7-11, God DOES love us and wants to give us good gifts, but these gifts are of His Spirit, not treasures that are temporal (Matthew 6:19-21).
So what if all this great wealth is a test for His children, instead of a platform for an inspirational teaching about the accrual of treasure?
Imagine if we, His heirs chose to worship Him by giving 10% to the church to Advance His Kingdom in our communities, nation and throughout the world. Imagine if we also gave above the tithe to others whom God has prompted us to serve. Imagine if we were good stewards and spent less than the numbers on our paycheck each month. Imagine if we saved for the future. Imagine if we paid cash for big purchases instead of accruing a larger balance on our credit cards. Imagine if we stopped comparing our lives to the Jones’ (whoever they are) in the Kingdom and in the world and choose to be content with what God has given us!
How could those few things change the world for Christ? I can only speak from personal experience and say that it has radically changed my husband’s life and mine. When Doug and I were DINKS (Dual Income No Kids), we made good money, but squandered most of it. When I became a stay-at-home unpaid mom, we were somehow able to live on less money with more people to support. We were able to tithe 10% of our gross income to our local church. We were able to give to others out of an overflow. We were able to sacrifice our wants to get out of credit card debt. We were able to pay cash for unexpected emergencies. And we were able to afford to have a little fun, too.
How were we able? By loving Jesus.
15 “If you love me, obey[a] my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate,[b] who will never leave you. 17 He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.[c] 18 No, I will not abandon you as orphans—I will come to you. 19 Soon the world will no longer see me, but you will see me. Since I live, you also will live. 20 When I am raised to life again, you will know that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them.”
I wish I could say that I am no longer tempted by great wealth. I am. Comparison to the Jones’ can do that to you…but thankfully, as I continue to pursue an attitude of gratitude towards Our Provider by daily surrendering to His will through Worship, Prayer & His Word, I have been able to avoid all kinds of evil.
Father, would you help me know your truth about wealth and how that applies to my life? Thank you for blessing me with the gifts of your Spirit- and for the abundance of food, clothing and material objects we possess. May your Spirit always keep my heart content, whether our bank account dwindles or expands.