We Shall Be Content
"Buy this now! Make money overnight! Become a millionaire with little effort on your part! Get this item to make your life better! You deserve it!" All day long such things are screamed at us by the world around us. The idea is to get as much money as you can in order to get as much stuff as you can, and the higher-quality the stuff, the better. As I sit here contemplating the message of the culture in which I live, I am lead once again to consider the words of Paul in 1 Timothy 6:6-11. He says to Timothy, "But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content."(v. 6-8) Content, with only the most basic of necessities. What a novel thought in the average society, where the end goal in life (as the world sees it) is to be counted among the wealthy and affluent. Of course, most people never get there, and even those who "get there" could rarely be considered to be truly content.
As a believer, the goal of my life is not to "get there". If I do my work as unto the Lord and He blesses me financially, so be it. It is the chasing after the "good life" that supposedly comes with wealth that I do not want. If the Lord sees fit to bless me with enough for my needs, and no more, then I want to be thankful and content in that. Even if things are sparse for a season, I want to be able to see the Lord as my portion, and not worry about what I have or do not have. There is so much we miss when we chase the dollar, wanting everything that is bigger and better in this life. Not only can we miss spiritual blessings from God, but we can fall into sin when our hearts are set on money. Paul goes on to say "But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs." (v. 9,10) Ruin, destruction, wandering from the faith, griefs? No, thank-you. If you do not believe this is true, then God does not what He is talking about, because Paul was not just speaking out of his own mind here. The Lord knows how our hearts operate, and how the lust after things drags us away from Him. That's why He has Paul then proceed to tell Timothy, "But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness." (v.11) Now, Paul was also referencing some other things he had mentioned earlier in the chapter when he says "these things" here, but among those things from which we are to flee are wanting to get rich and the love of money. Notice we are not to just passively ignore these things, but we are to turn around and run the other way! The other way is made up of the things of God and fruits of the Spirit. These are the things in life we are to pursue. We are to seek God first, believing and trusting He can give us all we need to live.
This does not mean we sit on our backsides, however, and do nothing. We should each do the work God has given us to do diligently, but we should make choices within that work based on what He tells us rather than the state of our wallet. Does the promotion at work mean no time for church, no time alone with God, and little time with your family? I would consider carefully what the Lord would tell you. You cannot replace your relationship with the Lord or with your family with extra money. I am not saying it is wrong to work hard or to have a good job, only that the job should not have first place. Perhaps you have the option to take a high-paying position, but feel the Holy Spirit tugging you into what seems to be a lesser situation financially. The Lord knows the better thing. Sometimes the place of greatest blessing is not obvious on the surface. Looking at life this way may seem to be too lofty, too "out-there", something for the super-spiritual, but not the average Christian. I believe otherwise. God would not have said what He did in this passage, and in other places, if He did not mean it for all of us. What if we actually took God at His word, believing He will provide for us, and left more time for Him and for doing His work? Do you think it would make a difference in our lives as Christians, and in the world around us, if money ceased to remain on the pedestal it has held for too long in our lives?
I am not saying people who have money should feel bad for having it. As I said earlier, the Lord sometimes blesses people with an abundance. Praise the Lord! He is good. Yet He gives more to some in order that they might share those earthly things with others. While I am not in favor of forced "redistribution of wealth", I am for us as believers sharing the material blessings we have been given with others, especially the needy within the Body. Paul addresses this later in chapter six of 1 Timothy by giving Timothy instructions to tell the rich not to be conceited or fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches. He says they should rather fix their hope on God and do good works and be generous.The Lord knows that if a wealthy person did those things, they would still be content even if they suddenly lost their money, for their hearts would already be set on the true treasure of the Kingdom. It's not having money that is evil; it is setting your heart on it that is evil. Any god apart from the Lord God Almighty cannot satisfy, which means we will forever be discontented if we seek after the lesser gods of this world. If we have the Lord and our hearts are set on Him, we shall be content, for our Good Shepherd provides for His flock when we trust in Him.
Lord, help me to be content today in You and the blessings You give me. I want to chase after You only and be satisfied in You. Thank-you that You provide Your children everything they need. You are good!
All Scripture quoted is from the NASB.