By Katie Pearson
“But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.” 1 Timothy 6:6-10
What is your honest reaction when you read the New Testament warnings about the danger of money? Do you dismiss them as irrelevant to you? I used to believe that material possessions weren’t important, and I often said that if I had enough money to buy books and coffee, all would be well! How naive. The years have brought family medical concerns, desires for more education and life experiences, and fears that I would not be able to retire in my beloved town that has grown terribly expensive. Money has become indispensable and a consideration in many decisions.
Yet has money become an idol? I don’t believe so, but when my fear starts to override my faith, and I lie awake at night wondering how much is enough, then I’m no longer trusting God and his care for my life. The Bible calls us to be good stewards of all we are given, including our choices concerning leadership opportunities, and this often involves financial consideration. But money should never be the only consideration. If our need for money causes us to make decisions or seek a position outside of God’s will, then it becomes evil.
Jesus teaches us to pray, “Lead us not into temptation” (Matthew 6:13). If you believe that money will never come between you and God, then you should be particularly alert to the possibility. One thing to remember about Satan is that he is crafty. He watches for our weaknesses, then blindsides us with temptations or distractions we didn’t realize posed a danger. Money is at the top of his list. Why? Because human beings crave comfort and security. We are also prone to power and control. Money offers the illusion that we are self-sufficient, and money can easily become an idol.
How do we keep our hearts in check when it comes to financial need versus want? As Dallas Willard says, we develop a “faith of desperation—trusting faith—[that] digs in, holds on, clings tight, and says, “I don’t care what’s going to happen, I am holding on to God!’” (Life Without Lack: Living in the Fullness of Psalm 23 (Nashville, TN: Nelson Books, 2018), 106.) Often God allows us to become desperate to learn how to trust His sovereignty and provision. Job and Jacob both experienced this kind of soul transformation, and it resulted in spiritual freedom. Willard makes the life-changing observation that only in our moment of need, not before nor after, can we experience the reality of God for ourselves. This is when our reliance on anything but God, including money, fades into a secondhand faith that we can happily leave behind.
Reflection: Lord Jesus, you came that I might know there is only one way to live an abundant and free life. You are the way, the truth, and the life. I pray that in moments of desperation, I instinctively turn to you to meet every need and restore my contentment. I release my desire to understand all that happens in my life and the world around me and relocate my trust in you alone. Thank you, Jesus. Amen. We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
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