July 30, 2012

1 Timothy 6:6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.

I think it was about 80 years ago that one of the wealthiest men in America was asked, “How much money is enough,” and he replied, “A little more.” Money itself is neutral, but as Paul famously declares in verse 10, the love of money creates all kinds of problems. Money, like sex, is ultimately unsatisfying. It may seem wonderful in the moment, but that doesn’t last, and we are left hungry for more. It boils down to what Jesus said: “You cannot serve both God and money.” (Matthew 6:24, Luke 16:13) Money is temporal, of this world, and is therefore temporary. The fact that “you can’t take it with you” never seems to sink in for a lot of people. Jesus even told the story of a man who delighted in his wealth, with the punchline of “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you.” (Luke 12:20) In contrast, godliness, which is to say, putting God first in your thoughts, values, and actions, leads to treasures that can be gained no other way. We are not to be satisfied with our level of maturity or obedience to God, but in everything else we are to let God be God, and be satisfied with what He provides. This is not about being passive; we are to be active participants in God’s kingdom. Rather, it is about letting go of the things the world tells us we should chase, and rather seek first God’s kingdom and His righteousness. (Matthew 6:33)

I’ve come a long way in this area, but I still see “things” at times that arouse my craving for more, such as computers and cameras. That only robs me of peace and joy! I have certainly tasted God’s goodness enough to know that nothing else is truly satisfying. (Psalm 34:8) As a pastor I deal with people all the time, both non-Christians and Christians, who aren’t yet to that bedrock understanding. It amazes me sometimes to see how wasteful people who struggle in this area can be. It is just as possible to serve money as a poor person as it is as a rich person, but either way, money is a very unkind and irrational master. It is only in releasing control to God that we can be really free, from this or any other trap. I’m reminded of the fact that monkeys can be caught by placing something they want in a jar with an opening they can get their hand through only if they aren’t holding anything. I need to help people let go so that they can be free!

Father, You have been overwhelmingly gracious toward me. Thank You. Keep me from letting my values wander. Help me rather focus more and more on You, in adoration and obedience, so that I will be fully available for all You want to pour onto, into, and through me, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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