6 But godliness with contentment is great gain, 7 for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. 8 But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. 9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.
11 But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13 I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, 14 to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 which he will display at the proper time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.
17 As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. 18 They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, 19 thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.
— 1 Timothy 6:6-19
9 Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; 10 then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.
— Proverbs 3:9-10
I grew up in a good home, but it did not follow the teachings of Jesus. We were taught that to find security and happiness in life, you must have money. And the more money, the better! Never did it cross my mind that these things were untrue, much less the “root of all kinds of evil.” It was merely common sense and what all people should strive for. But true to Paul’s teaching here, the love of money and the desire to be rich eventually did lead to ruin and destruction for our family. Paul wasn’t exaggerating; look at the world around you to see the devastation that living for riches and wealth brings. Not only that but these desires and longings are never-ending; there is no such thing as satisfaction or contentment because you will always want more than what you have, and there will always be something more to attain. As Paul promises, it will pierce you with much pain.
Paul is brutally honest about this desire for wealth that every human experiences, even believers, and its consequences. He never says money is evil, he says the love of it is. And he explains that placing your hope on the uncertainty of riches will never bring gain but loss. When a desire for riches and wealth guides you, it will always lead to brokenness and heartache. So he urges believers to pursue something other than money…contentment in God alone. Setting your hope on God, “who richly provides us with everything to enjoy,” is what will bring great gain. So instead of desiring to be rich, we desire more of God. Instead of craving the things of the world, we crave more of God. Instead of loving money, we love God. It is all about our mindset towards what we have, which will shape what we long for. We take our eyes off of the things of the world, and we fix them on God, who will provide us with all that we truly need.
In verses 11-12, Paul tells believers to flee from the desire to get rich, the love of money, and the longing for more wealth. Turn and run from it! Instead, pursue the things of God, fight for them, and take hold of that which is yours in Christ. The desire for riches and wealth is in and around all of us. So we must constantly fight to renew our minds in this area, to seek God first.
Then Paul addresses those who already have wealth, which, by the way, are most of us in this country. He says that our mindset towards what we have should never be arrogance and superiority over others. And our hope should never rest on what we have and the assumed security our wealth provides. But instead, we fix our hope only on God, who is our ultimate provider. With this mindset, we can be rich towards others and be generous with what we have because we know it was given to us by God. As it says in Proverbs 3:9, we can then honor God from our wealth. We should desire and long for this because it will bring us true life and satisfaction. May we always be humble enough to accept our weaknesses in this area and our need for God’s help to honor Him with what we have!