Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
I Tim. 6:6-10
Not only does Paul address Pastor Timothy on the danger a love of money can pose, but James does likewise in our text today. The danger is not money itself, rather it is the love of it. The love for money, and the pursuit of it, can occur to the rich, the poor and the in-between.
J.C. Ryle, a pastor of a century ago, noted that it is “possible to love money without having it. It is also possible to have money without loving it.” He also interestingly notes that “money, in truth, is one of the most unsatisfying of possessions… it takes away some cares no doubt, but it brings equal if not more, as many cares as it takes away.” He notes a few:
- the trouble in getting it.
- the anxiety of keeping it.
- the perplexity in use of it.
- the guilt in abuse of it.
- the sorrow in loss of it.
- the tensions in disposing of it.
The believer has a huge gift in the godly and perfect wisdom of God’s Word. The key to a healthy Christian life is an honest submission to His Word. This we must do for the sake of our own souls and for the sake of the church. The fact that we are 21st century Americans makes us among the wealthiest the world ever has seen. This a blessing, yet depending on our mind-set, it very well can place our souls in great peril. We must heed the above words of Paul to Timothy, being on-guard for a “love of money.” Be honest in a self-evaluation in a loyalty and delight, verses a “straying from the faith” because of money. And to the rich, Paul writes: “Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold of eternal life” (I Tim. 6:17-19).
Jesus said: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matt. 6:19-21).
Dear church family, invest with all your resources in the things of eternity… you’ll be glad…really, really glad!