Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions.
Money figures largely in our thoughts. We occupy a lot of time thinking about it: about how much we have got, how much we need, how much we earn, how much we spend.
The New Testament also has a lot to say about money. And what it says is quite remarkable because it is the opposite to what we normally think about money. Some Christians say, It is God’s will for me to be rich. That is, they believe they should seek after prosperity. Are they right?
Seek First the Kingdom of God
The first thing to note in the Bible teaching about money is that affluence is unimportant. Having a little more or a little less is irrelevant to life. Jesus taught this very clearly when he said, “A man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (Luke 12:15). From this it follows that the first virtue to be cultivated with regard to the handling of money is the virtue of contentment. Thus, Paul teaches clearly that having food and clothing, with these we should be content (1 Timothy 6:8).
His remarks are in the context of his condemnation of Christians who think that the Christian life, and particularly the Christian ministry, is a way of making money and becoming rich, and he comments that “the Christian life with contentment is certainly great riches”. Godliness with contentment, that is the Apostle’s recipe for living, and what wonderful peace it brings, complete release from the rat race.
If we look after God’s affairs, he will look after us.
Riches Are Unreliable
The second point about money that the Bible underlines is an obvious one. Namely that affluence is unreliable. We can lose it quickly, and we all lose it at events such as death or in old age when it is of no use to us. Jesus warned his disciples not to be rich in this world but rather to be rich in the next, rich towards God. He told the story of the rich farmer whose fields had produced abundant harvests. Instead of thanking God he simply said:
What shall I do?…I will do this, I will tear down my barns, and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; take your ease, eat drink, be merry. But God said to him, Fool! This night your soul is required of you; and these things you have prepared, whose will they be?…[and Jesus added], So is he who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God. (Luke 12:17-21 – CEV).
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Money tempts us very strongly to put our trust in it, but it is a very uncertain thing. Thus the Apostle Paul tells Timothy:
As for the rich in this world charge them not to be haughty nor to set their hopes on uncertain riches but in God who richly furnishes us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good deeds with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good deeds, liberal and generous, thus laying up for themselves a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of the life which is life indeed. (1 Timothy 6:17-19 – RSV)
Affluence is unreliable. It is a snare to rely on money for the future. Our trust must be in God who is in charge of our future and who will supply our needs because he cares for us.
(To be continued in Money and Contentment – Part 2)
Source: ACR Journal