1Ti 6:7-10 “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”
We read some truths and think they are so evident that they do not need to be stated. We came into this world with nothing of this world’s goods, and we can take nothing of this world’s goods with us when we leave. Yet, we often live our lives frantically trying to accumulate wealth. While we have need of some things while in this world, nothing of this world should be our life’s focus.
We need sustenance for these tabernacles of clay that we currently occupy. We need sufficient clothing and shelter to cover our nakedness and protect us from the elements. Even in this, our trust should first be in God. Our Heavenly Father knows that we need these things (Mat 6:32).
In His knowledge, He provides labor for us. He gives us grace and strength to work for our needs. We may not all prosper to the same degree, but He is faithful to His word. We need to be faithful to prioritize His kingdom above all else and put our trust in Him.
It seems that we often struggle with contentment. Contentment is a learning process: it does not come “naturally” to us. No matter how good we have it, we have a problem being content. After all, our forefather Adam lived in a paradise with every need met and still was not content.
Paul says that he learned contentment (Php 4:11). He was not saying that he always had everything. He declared that he had known both want and prosperity. This declaration was followed by a statement we often hear quoted but seldom associate it with the idea of contentment: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me (Php 4:13).”
Contentment is gained by learning to put all our trust in Jesus. When our goal in life is to be rich, we are easily ensnared in nothing ever being enough. Our lust for things carries us into captivity. We are overwhelmed by a sense of failure because nothing satisfies the emptiness inside us. We lose our peace in pursuit of things that we will never be able to take with us.
Money is not evil, and being blessed to have money does not mean that an individual is bad or has done bad things in order to have it. But loving money (prosperity) is the root of all evil. One does not have to be prosperous to love prosperity. We can be below what is considered the poverty level and still commit evil because of our desire to prosper above our neighbor.
If we love money, we will eventually forsake the worthwhile things God has placed in our lives. Kindness will disappear from our lives. We will alienate ourselves from our families in the pursuit of having more. We may even try to justify it by saying we are doing it for others even though we never actually do anything to benefit others.
If we have not learned contentment, then we have erred from the faith that God knows our needs. We have erred from the truth that we can do all things through Christ who is our strength. Paul assures us that we are opening our lives to great grief. This is proven through the scripture from the time that God drove man from the garden.
May God give us the grace to anchor our trust and hope in Him, finding contentment and peace in the things that He has provided rather than loving the very source of the evil in this world!