Money, Possessions, & Eternity – How God Measures Our Character By Our Money Usage
Contentment Must Become a Learned Way of Life
How do we learn to be content and then model and teach contentment to our families? One of the best ways to start is to do a study of 1 Timothy 6:6–17, which describes seven principles that promote contentment.
Principle 1—Remember that things are only temporary: Godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and we can carry nothing out (1 Timothy 6:6–7). You cannot take it with you. There are no U-Haul trailers behind hearses.
Principle 2—Only seek necessities, and wait for the rest: Having food and clothing, with these we shall be content (1 Timothy 6:8).
We need shelter and the basic provisions of life, but everything beyond that is simply a great blessing. Whether it comes or goes is okay. God has said that all we are supposed to expect in life are food and clothing, so we should be happy with that.
Principle 3—Avoid a consuming desire for prosperity: Those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and many foolish and harmful lusts, For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have stray
ed from the faith and pierced themselves through with many sorrows (1 Timothy 6:9–10).
America has been fed a prosperity diet. You might say, “That is not me—I am not rich.” If you own a car, you are rich. Ninety-five percent of the people in the world can’t afford a car. Your watch and the clothes you have on are worth more than what hundreds of millions of people on earth have. Tens of thousands even starve to death around the world each year, but Americans regularly throw away super-sized leftovers.
Principle 4—Flee materialism: Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness (1 Timothy 6:11).
Do you seek to accumulate possessions—or to grow in Christlikeness? Value what will count for eternity!
Principle 5—Cling to eternal life: Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called. Keep this commandment without spot, blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ’s appearing (1 Timothy 6:12, 14).
We need a whole generation of people who are holding tighter to eternal life than they are to this world.
The writer of Hebrews says, You had compassion on me in my chains, and joyfully accepted the plundering of your goods, knowing that you have a better and an enduring possession for yourselves in heaven (Hebrews 10:34). When those Christians were persecuted and their jobs and possessions taken away, they still rejoiced because their focus was on Christ.
If we’re not careful, before long our possessions can possess us. They then become an anchor that holds us back. The care of riches clouds our minds from seeking the purity of Christ.
Principle 6—Fix your hope on God: Command those who are rich … not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God (1 Timothy 6:17).
There is nothing wrong with wealth, but we are to recognize the danger of relying upon it. All that we own can evaporate as quickly as a blip on a computer screen. There are few things that are real possessions in this world. Through money, stocks, and bonds you are trusting that a company, a bank, or a government won’t fail. But the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy, can never fail us—and our trust in Him is certain!
Principle 7—Give until it hurts: Let them do good, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life (1 Timothy 6:18–19).
The real cure for materialism is to give until it hurts! Giving “until it hurts” means giving at the cost of personal sacrifice. For example, the widow gave both of her mites, or all that she had (Mark 12:42–44). The woman who anointed Jesus broke the flask of fragrant oil and irrecoverably gave all she had to Him (Luke 7:37–47). Sacrificial gifts are especially important to Jesus.
That is why the last words that John wrote in 1 John, should speak to each of us:
1 John 5:20-21 (NKJV) And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. 21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.
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