Am I content with what I have? Do I have enough to eat and clothes? Is there a good roof over my head?
When I panic over something I have lost, I have stared greed in the face. Panic shows that I am not content with what I have.
God’s goal for us is clear. His desire for us is godliness. That is what matters for eternity. What “we have” in terms of riches is of no value to God.
Godliness is the mission. All else pales in comparison. What will I leave this world with? Not money. Only my love of God matters. For a deeper dive, check out everything Jesus had to say about wealth and money.
But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. 1 Timothy 6:6-10
Wealth does not bring contentment. The word contentment means “an inner sufficiency that keeps us at peace in spite of outward circumstances.” Paul used this same word later. “For I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content” (Phil. 4:11). True contentment comes from godliness in the heart, not wealth in the hand.
A person who depends on material things for peace and assurance will never be satisfied, for material things have a way of losing their appeal. It is the wealthy people, not the poor people, who go to psychiatrists and who are more apt to try to commit suicide.
Wealth is not lasting. Another way to translate this verse: “We brought nothing into this world because we can carry nothing out”. When someone’s spirit leaves his body at death, it can take nothing with it because, when that person came into the world at birth, he brought nothing with him. Whatever wealth we amass goes to the government, our heirs, and perhaps charity and the church. We always know the answer to the question, “How much did he leave?” Everything!
Our basic needs are easily met. Food, clothing and shelter are basic needs. If we lose them, we lose the ability to secure other things. A miser without food would starve to death counting his money. There is the story of the simple-living Quaker who was watching his new neighbor move in, with all of the furnishings and expensive “toys” that “successful people” collect. The Quaker finally went over to his new neighbor and said, “Neighbor, if ever thou dost need anything, come to see me, and I will tell thee how to get along without it.” Henry David Thoreau, the naturalist of the 1800s, reminded us that a man is wealthy in proportion to the number of things he can afford to do without.
The economic and energy crises that the world faces will probably be used by God to encourage people to simplify their lives. Too many of us know the “price of everything and the value of nothing.” We are so glutted with luxuries that we have forgotten how to enjoy our necessities.
The desire for wealth leads to sin). “They that will be rich,” is the accurate translation. It describes a person who has to have more and more material things in order to be happy and feel successful. But riches are a trap. Richs can lead to bondage, not freedom. Instead of giving satisfaction, riches create additional lusts; and these must be satisfied. Instead of providing help and health, an excess of material things hurts and wounds. The result Paul described very vividly: “Harmful desires … plunge men into ruin and destruction” (1 Tim. 6:9, NIV). It is the picture of a man drowning! He trusted his wealth and “sailed along,” but the storm came and he sank.
It is a dangerous thing to use religion as a cover-up for acquiring wealth. God’s laborer is certainly worthy of his hire, but his motive for laboring must not be money. That would make him a “hireling,” and not a true shepherd.
We should not ask, “How much will I get?” but rather “How much can I give?”
May I love God and be content.
May I understand the value of godliness.