Summary: The pursuit of money or all the things it can buy is a problem. It shows that we are putting our faith, our sense of security and our hope for the future in material goods. Instead, we need to put our hope in God.
How many of you have heard of the American Dream?
It’s not a dream that is limited to the United States. In fact, it’s a worldwide phenomenon. It is the desire to pursue prosperity, success and upward social mobility. While it is not wrong to be successful in life, the pursuit of the American Dream can work against us. It interferes with our ability to find contentment in what God provides for us. We seek more money, power, benefits and so on, and that often forces us to miss the opportunity to pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.
Since the dawn of history, man has tried to be independent of God. It’s in our nature to be self-sufficient and self-supporting. This does not bring us face to face with our need to depend on God every day. True godliness means that a person trusts God to provide for everything and learns to be content with what He gives. God is not opposed to our having good things. In fact, every good thing we enjoy comes as God’s gift. We must not confuse the gift with the Giver.
Growth in godliness does not necessarily lead to material gain or wealth. The idea that we are complete without having enough money or material goods is foreign to us. The world tells us to get as much money or other goods as possible.
Contrary to the popular saying, money is not the root of all evil. It is the love of money that is the problem. The pursuit of money or all the things it can buy is the problem. It shows that we are putting our faith, our sense of security and our hope for the future in material goods. Instead, we need to put our hope in God.
This does not mean that we should not save money for retirement or other emergencies. Accumulating wealth so that we are not a burden on others is a wise move. From a spiritual point of view, Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:25-34 that God will take care of our basic needs. God is our sole provider and we focus on the necessities of life, we can be content. Those who want to get rich often fall into temptation.
Paul tells Timothy and us in 1 Timothy 6:6-19 that true ministry is not motivated by greed but by the reality of eternal life and an awareness of accountability to God. True joy can only be found in a relationship with Christ. When we have faith, we are no longer slaves to our circumstances. When we combine our love for God with acceptance of His will for our lives, we will find great gain. When we rely on him alone, we will experience our greatest happiness and freedom.
The subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) temptation of any culture is to disregard eternal values for temporary gains. Yet no person takes his money with him when he dies. That’s why you never see a U-Haul behind a hearse in a funeral procession. This is why money is such a poor object for our affection and trust. It does not last beyond this life. A far better plan is to put it to good use here on earth by giving as much as possible to help others. Between this life and the next, believers must trust God to provide.
Most early believers were poor, but there were some rich believers. The rich were given four specific commands.;
1. Don’t be haughty.
2. Trust God, not wealth.
3. Do good.
4. Be rich in good works, giving and sharing
Godly people know what they flee from: the love of money. One of greed’s many dangers is its ability to make people err in the faith and become unfruitful. The rich are to give some of their money to the poor. The sense of accumulating wealth for personal security or comfort is foreign to Jesus. The unchecked desire for money leads to the love of money, and the love of money is the root of all evil. The love of money is called greed. This evil is one of many evils that we have to confront.
We don’t have all of the skills or knowledge to fight every evil. Our efforts are better spent focusing on only one or two issues. We are to fight evil, but we must also recognize when it is best to flee from evil.
It’s not wrong for Christians to have money-even a great deal of money-as long as that money does not have them. According to Paul, the problem comes when accumulating wealth becomes the focus of our lives. When money begins to rule lives, people fall prey to greed. Greed is not only an obstacle to achieving godliness and contentment. It is a gateway to all kinds of evil.