Isn’t it amazing how often bible verses are taken out of context in isnt Isn’t it amazing how often bible verses are taken out of context in order to support a reader’s preconceived ideas? I’ve found that just about every passage dealing with money or possessions has been misused at one time or another. One such passage is in 1 Timothy chapter 6.
“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasures for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.”
(1 Timothy 6: 6-10, 17-19)
Paul, speaking to Timothy, addresses two circumstances we may find ourselves in with regard to money. He brings up the idea of being in want. A great point is made in this passage about not being able to take anything out of this world. We should be satisfied when God provides us with our basic needs. What I’ve found is that God’s provision is given in proportion to how it will affect his kingdom. When we use the monetary blessings he bestows to spread his love to others, we reap what we sow and are blessed in return.
But the danger those in want fall into is comparing themselves to others and desiring their material wealth. We face serious temptation when we covet the wealth that others have. Loving money is not our only worry though. Loving the lifestyle it can buy can also be a detriment to our walk with God. We must see money as a tool not to serve ourselves, but to further the kingdom of God and help others.
Paul also talks to Timothy about those who already are rich. He warns them not to put all their hope in their possessions. We see in today’s world how people put so much trust in their wealth that when it’s gone they are a shell of their former self. Again, God didn’t bless us with money so that we can hoard it and meet only our personal wants and needs. Being rich is a great opportunity to be generous with what we have. There’s no better way to show love than to give. But we do not need to be ashamed of the material blessings that we do have. We just need to remember that the stores we lay up here on earth will soon be gone. Only those things we store up in heaven will live for eternity.
There’s no better summary to this passage than to end where we began. We experience great gain and peace if we are godly and content. If we seek God first and are satisfied with wherever he places us financially, we show true honor and glory to our God who provides us with all we really need.