Summary: Better to be content than wealthy, but better yet to be content and good stewards of what God has given us.
Contentment and Money
(I Timothy 6:6-10, 17-19)
1. Study after study show that the world’s happiest people are not from the richest nations; once basic needs are met, it is more a matter of relationships, family, and thankfulness; the topic most newlywed couples argue over is money.
2. We know cynical people who believe everything comes down to money or power. Such people do not really believe in things like love, and they view those with less money as failures; the idea that some people might choose careers with modest incomes does not compute.
3. Others, the competitive, think of life as a game; he who has the most toys wins.
4. Some Christians think God wants every believer to be poor; others think rich.
5. What God really wants for every believer is to be content. Prv. 15:17, “Better is a dish of vegetables where love is Than a fattened ox served with hatred.”
Main Idea: Better to be content than wealthy, but better yet to be content and good stewards of what God has given us.
I. Contentment and WEALTH Are Not the Same Thing (6-8)
A. Contentment COUPLED With Godliness Makes Life Rich (6)
B. Godliness Includes a Work, Saving, and Future-Minded Work ETHIC (6a)
1. Work was ordained before the fall
2. Rather than working to meet needs, having means to give as well
3. Many Proverbs talk about saving, delaying gratification, thinking long term, and accumulating money little by little rather than by windfalls
4. Many impoverished cultures have an ethic where people stop working when they have enough for that day… [1 month salary in bank before luxuries]
5. Lower classed people spend money as soon as they get it ; we need to:
• Save for a rainy day, college, or retirement
• delay gratification and save for the unforeseen
• save little by little, do not hope to strike it rich (lottery; when my ship…)
• those who are better off are not just lucky/ college [delayed], thrift
• If all our nation’s money were divided equally…
• We cannot conquer poverty in America until we learn to change ethics
C. The Biblically content person is so future minded, he thinks of ETERNITY (7)
D. Contentment is an ATTITUDE some people rarely experience
Some people have a bucket list, in the front — not the back — of their minds, of future acquisitions… I would suggest that the back is where we need that list
Hebrews 13:5, “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’”
Most people go through life mildly depressed, mildly discontent, always at least one step away from contentment…we need to cultivate a grateful heart
Many relational conflicts are caused by a spirit of discontent…always blue because they have less than the ideal, always disappointed; others have extremely bad
E. Even God does not expect us to be content without true NECESSITIES (8)
1. I use the word “need” sparingly
2. It is better to say, “I would like….” or “I want…”
3. If you tell yourself you need things that you really only want, you will justify debt and expenditures that could have been addressed for true needs
4. Tony… disability/dialysis, spent $ for DJ for wife’s party, no money for food
5. He “needed” to show his wife how much she meant to him…
F. A focus on CONTENTMENT — rather than money — should be our goal
Better to be content than wealthy
II. We Place Ourselves in a Dangerous Position — Not by Being Rich — but by WANTING to Be Rich (9-10)
A. Who hasn’t dreamt about inheriting a BUNDLE?
B. A focus on money, however, DISPLACES a focus on loving God and others
From an article penned by me that appeared in the Kokomo Tribune on March 22, 2015
The debate between whether having money or loving money negatively affects our character is very much alive… Paul Piff of the University of California…organized a “driver-pedestrian” experiment… “... Who is more likely to stop for pedestrians, the rich or the poor? Drivers are legally obliged to stop if someone wishes to cross. And, as a Lexus blithely slips through in front of him, Piff explains what his researchers found.
“‘None of the drivers of the least expensive cars broke the law, while close to 50% of our most expensive car drivers broke the law ... [wealth] ... makes you more attuned to your own interests, your own desires, your own welfare. ... It isolates you in certain ways from other people psychologically and materially. You prioritize your own needs and your own goals and become less attuned to those around you.”
…Kathleen Vohs of the University of Minnesota… argues, whether rich or poor, people focused upon money are more selfish and less compassionate. On the other hand, people who do not focus on money, whether rich or poor, tend to be more generous and concerned for others.