6 Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth.
— 1 Timothy 6:6 NLT
As more people in our society are finding out, we can be materially rich today and in poverty tomorrow. We need to learn to be content with just the basics; food, clothing, shelter. C H Spurgeon says that 95% of Christians fail the prosperity test and only 5% fail the poverty test. That is another way of saying what Paul is telling Timothy here. Money is neither good nor evil, that is determined by the use we make of the resources we have. While the world pursues monetary gain, we should be pursuing spiritual wisdom. It is important for us to remember that no matter who signs the paycheck, God is the source of all our wealth. He is the source of all of our blessings and provides every thing we need.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
1 O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you.
My soul thirsts for you;
my whole body longs for you
in this parched and weary land
where there is no water. — Psalm 63:1 NLT
We all have had those days when it seemed that nothing we did would satisfy us. All day long, we wanted something. Food and drink did not satisfy us. All of our activity left us empty and drained. Kind words from family, friends and co-workers just didn’t hit the spot. All day, it was just that feeling that something is missing. As the Psalmist said, “O, my soul, why are you disquieted within me?” All of the usual forms of recreation and relaxation just left us feeling less satisfied. Then we hear that small, still voice saying, “Come unto me”. Drink from the well that never runs dry. Wade into the fountain that flows from the throne of God and be satisfied. Focus on the throne and as you focus on Jesus, your mind starts to settle peacefully and you can feel all your tensions disappear as Jesus holds you and you are filled with His peace. Spend time with Jesus and meditate on His Word. Your Spirit desires it more than anything this world can offer.
21 All of King Solomon’s drinking cups were solid gold, as were all the utensils in the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon. They were not made of silver, for silver was considered worthless in Solomon’s day! — 1Kings 10:21 NLT
Can you imagine being blessed so abundantly that you would consider silver as being worthless? I don’t think my “imaginer” works that well. And we must remember that Solomon did not ask for wealth, he asked for wisdom. Since he recieved all the worldly goods he did not ask for, the wisdom that Solomon did ask for and receive would have been out of this world. Since it was divine wisdom from heaven, it certainly would have been from somewhere out of this world. The point is this; God wants to bless us with super-abundance, but God is not a wasteful God. He blesses each of us with what we need and as much more as we can handle. Each of us is blessed with a gift that is to be used for the growth of His Kingdom. There is one job that God has designed each of us to do and we can do that job better than anyon else can do it. Why? Because God provides us with the wisdom and the resources to do that job. Not all of us can be great leaders worthy of worldly fame, but each of us has a tremendous job to do in the work of the Kingdom. Not all of us can handle great wealth, we can see the proof of that when we read the sad stories of the people who win millions in the lotteries and a few years later they are broke. We see proof of it when great sports figures who received millions of dollars while playing have to file bankruptcy a few years after retirement. God has a plan and a purpose for each of us. When we discover that plan and we are content to fulfill His purpose, then we can truly see that “all things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to HIS PURPOSE”.
20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’21 “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God. — Luke 12:20, 21 NIV
Riches are neutral, being neither good nor evil. It is our attitude about those riches that causes us problems. In the parable of the “certain rich man”, Jesus shows us the real issue with riches. When we have the wrong attitude about money and possessions, we spend too much time and money in trying to obtain more of each. The rich man decided to build more barns which would require more of his money and time, so more possessions and money causes us to spend more time and money protecting what we have bought. It becomes a vicious circle that destroys relationships and eventually destroys us. God blesses us so that we can bless others. If we hold onto those blessings too tightly and don’t use them for His work, they can become our god. We become dependent on them for our self-worth and happiness. When we have the right attitude about riches, we use those things to advance God’s Kingdom here on earth and to lay up rewards for ourselves in heaven. Jesus did not instruct the disciples to pray for riches, but rather to ask just for what they needed today.
11 Give us today our daily bread. — Matt 6:11 NIV
17 Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails,
and the fields lie empty and barren;
even though the flocks die in the fields,
and the cattle barns are empty,
18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation! — Habakkuk 3:17,18 NLT
Happiness and pleasure are worldly things and are dependent on our external circumstances. They are fleeting and temporary. But joy, true joy, comes from the Holy Spirit that abides in us. It is dependent on our internal attitudes. It is eternal and no one, not even satan can steal our joy. If we lose it, it is because we give it away. It is our strength that gets us through every day. There are times when we may not be happy and our circumstances may not be pleasant, but how we respond to those times determines where we are on our journey with Jesus. When these times come, do we blame God and sulk like spoiled children or do we respond like Habakkuk and rejoice in the Lord”? When we don’t feel like praying, that is the time we need to pray the fervent, effectual prayers. When we don’t feel like shouting with joy, that is the time when we need to clap our hands and shout with a voice of triumph. Our joy is not based on feelings or circumstances but upon the sure knowledge that “God is our salvation and He has become our strength”. All day, every day, all our life long.
Come, everyone! Clap your hands! Shout to God with joyful praise! — Psalm 47:1
10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. — John 10:10 NKJV
When we hear the term abundant, our minds quickly turn to material possessions, postion, and money. Those things have little to do with abundant living in the Biblical sense. The list of millionaires, actors, and other famous people that have committed suicide in the prime of their lives proves this to be true. Perhaps, we need to rethink what brings true joy in this present time and in the future. It needs to be someone or something that is steadfast, true and unchangeable. It must be someone or something we can have with us all the time. It must be someone or something that we have instant access to whether we are having a “good” day or a “bad” day. It must be someone or something that is affordable whether we are rich or poor. God knows that we need money, food and things to make the journey but He also knows that dependence on those things will not bring us joy or peace. We need friends but they can’t be with us every second of every day. What we really, really need is to learn to access the shalom kind of peace that Jesus bought for us at Calvary. If we can’t trust Him for our daily bread, how can we trust Him with our souls for eternity? Abundant living is an attitude of the heart. You can’t buy it with all the money in the world, a friend can’t give it to you, a doctor might prescirbe it but the pharmacy can’t fulfill the prescription. It only comes when we learn the lesson that Paul learned, “not that I was ever in need”.
11 Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. 12 I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. 13 For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. — Phil. 4:11-13 NLT