It’s Not About the Money
Our lives are not about money. It’s not important how much we make. It’s a privilege and blessing if we have an abundance, but it isn’t supposed to be our focus.
“But godliness with contentment is a great gain.
For we brought nothing into the world,
and we can take nothing out.
But if we have food and clothing,
we will be content with these.”
(1 Timothy 6:6)
It is up to God to decide how much we have. Sometimes we won’t have much. Other times we will have plenty. The apostle Paul was a great example of this. At times, he was able to work. He made a wage that supported him and some of his disciples. At other times, he was blessed by the churches’ provisions for him while on mission and in prison. Yet, there were moments where he went without food, drink, and shelter. Though these are extremes to some of us, I’m sure we can all mark moments in life where we had little and a lot.
That’s the ebbs and flows of life. We experience financially, relationally, physically, emotionally, etc. It can be exhausting and overwhelming. But, there’s one thing that remains constant. One thing that anchors us in the midst of chaos and uncertainty. It’s Jesus. I know most of us know that, but it can be easy to forget in the middle of the tornado of life. It’s hard when things like finances go awry to remember where to put our gaze.
Paul helps us to recalibrate in 1 Timothy 6. There were false teachers going around and spreading lies in order to materially gain from the church. Like the corrupt Old Testament priests, they did things that would shackle their hearers and heap guilt and condemnation on them. Once they had them chained to their power, they were able to get what they wanted out of them: money. Paul stated,
“If anyone teaches other doctrine and does not agree with the sound teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the teaching that promotes godliness, he is conceited, understanding nothing, but has a sick interest in disputes and arguments over words. From these come envy, quarreling, slander, evil suspicions, and constant disagreement among people whose minds are depraved and deprived of the truth, who imagine that godliness is a way to material gain. But godliness with contentment is a great gain.” 1 Timothy 6:3-6
The Law showed people their depravity without Christ. Then Christ came, offered grace, and showed them the way to abundant and free life in Him through faith. Paul strongly stated the dangers of trying to bring godliness as a way for earthly and monetary gain. The only godly striving we should seek in is Jesus Christ and His gospel. We are to be humbled servants, not boasting about how good and perfect we are.
Why is it that the Bible goes on and on about the dangers of money? Is it really all that bad? Paul continued,
“But those who want to be rich fall into temptation, a trap, and many foolish and harmful desires, which plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and by craving it some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains.
But you, man of God, run from these things, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness. Fight the good fight for the faith; take hold of eternal life that you were called to and have made a good confession about in the presence of many witnesses.” 1 Timothy 6:9-12
Money in itself isn’t bad. It’s the mindset we have around it. God is the creator of money and has provided it to sustain us and be generous to others. We are to be faithful stewards of it. Realize that Paul immediately talks about character traits after the paragraph on money. It is how we think about and use it that matters.
If we’re looking to Jesus in all things, money becomes a tool for us to go about the Lord’s work. It isn’t what drives us. If we’re looking at ourselves and the circumstances we’re in, that’s when we start to long for and hunger after more. More money, more possessions, greater status, etc.
So, we need to be careful that we don’t fall into the temptations that are attached to money. But that we constantly hold it with open hands and a free heart, knowing that we can trust God to meet our needs and provide as He sees fit. If we do find ourselves with an abundance, we need to stay focused and ask the Lord how He wants us to use it.
“Instruct those who are rich in the present age not to be arrogant or to set their hope on the uncertainty of wealth, but on God, who richly provides us with all things to enjoy. Instruct them to do what is good, to be rich in good works, to be generous, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good reserve for the age to come, so that they may take hold of life that is real.” 1 Timothy 6:17-19
Having money can be a great thing. It allows us to be generous, which is a lot of fun. It gives us room to share more with others. If the Lord has given you an abundance, it’s because you’ve proven yourself faithful with what He’s given you before. Be wise. Seek the Lord as you should in all areas of your life. Stay focused on the real goal: eternal life and rewards with Christ Jesus. Build up your storehouse of good works as a follower of Jesus. Hold onto the hope of the amazing things yet to come.
In the meantime, enjoy this present age. Be creative with what God’s given you. Be faithful with what you have now, whether it be a little or a lot. Be generous regardless of your circumstances. Show the Lord that He can trust you with what He’s given you, so that you can be faithful and responsible with more. Keep your blinders on Jesus, lest you fall into temptation. Enjoy the hope and splendor of all that awaits you in the age to come!