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.” – Hebrews 13:5
What if I don’t keep my life free from the love of money?
What if I’m not content with what I have?
What if it’s not enough for me to know that God is always with me?
The other day I was at a Men’s Bible Study, one verse we read was Hebrews 13:5. As I thought about it, those kinds of questions began to pop in my head. What if I don’t? What would that mean for me? And what would I need to do in order to do those things?
The second half of that verse has always been a favorite of mine, ever since I was young. It was a very comforting truth to me; that God never leaves or forgets about me, which means he is always with me. As a child I learned to say goodbye pretty often, because my family moved around a lot. So it was a reminder to me that no matter where I went, and no matter how often I had to say goodbye, God never left me and would always be with me.
When I read this verse in its entirety at the Men’s Bible Study, it struck me in a different way. The verse talks about not letting money become what I love, to be content with what I already have, and then it ends by reminding us of the truth that God is always with us. When I put all of those together in a single thought, it challenged me with a couple different thoughts.
If God is with me, would that be enough for me, so that I will be content with him and what he provides me in that moment and I will love him more than I love money and what it could give me.
Am I known and seen as someone who is content with what he has and who loves God…or am I known and seen as someone who isn’t content and always wants more, pursuing that more than God.
What if I don’t?
If I don’t seek to be content, and keep my life free from the love of money, then it would be easy for me to allow my heart to care more about money and what it can buy me rather than caring more about God. If my focus is on money and possessions, it will be pulled in all kinds of different directions, depending on what appeals to me and my flesh in that moment. If I am focusing on and pursuing all kinds of things that appeal to me, it could lead down a path of constant pursuit of something else…always chasing the next thing.
To not be content would mean that no matter what I have, it wouldn’t be enough. To love money would mean my focus would be on money and getting as much of it as I can, and how I choose to live would reflect that. And if that is my attitude and focus, then the truth that God is always with me wouldn’t make the kind of difference in my life that it should.
That kind of life doesn’t sound appealing. It sounds like I’d always be stressing about having more, but never arriving at what I’m chasing after. Having more would become my goal in life, which would pull my time and focus away from God and the people I love in order to try and achieve my goal. And the effect of never being content would be a lack of joy in my life, since I’d never be happy with what is.
When I was growing up, the truth from that verse that comforted me was that God is always with me. It didn’t have anything to do with money, possessions, having more, or anything like that. Now that I’m “grown up” (physically…maybe not so much mentally 😜), I want that truth to still be what I focus on and live according to.
How I do
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. – 1 Timothy 6:6-8
Remember that all the possessions I can gather in this life didn’t come with me and won’t go with me, so they aren’t what matters most. If I have food and clothes…if I have the things I need to survive and live…then I can be content with those. And when I am content, then my heart and attitude will be in the right place, and anything extra that I do obtain in this life I will be thankful for.
And he [Jesus] said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” – Luke 12:15
I am not defined by what I possess. My heart, how I treat others in my life, as a Follower of Christ my pursuit of him, those are the things that truly matter about me. This world focuses on possessions and what someone has. I don’t want to be that way, and I don’t want to let myself be defined by that. I want to be known for who I am, how I act and treat others, and how I live for God…not how many nice things I have.
But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. – 1 Timothy 6:11
Since I desire to be a man of God, then these are the things in my life that I need to pursue. What is right, what is godly. Having a strong faith that guides my life. Being a man who loves others well. Standing strong even when things are difficult, yet also being gentle with how I handle difficult situations.
May I encourage you
It’s not easy to be content. We live in a world that places value on having money and possessions, and it’s easy to get caught up in that way of living. There’s a reason we have to be reminded to not love money…because it’s very easy to. This world has a lot of nice things to offer, and it’s fun to have them. Focusing more on money and possessions rather than on God and righteous living is very easy to do.
However, it’s also true that we still have a choice for how we live. It’s up to us to decide what we want to focus on.
Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. – Colossians 3:2
I encourage you to choose to focus on what is greater than money and possessions. May you desire to pursue godliness, gentleness, contentment, faith, and love. May you seek to have a heart and attitude of contentment. May you have joy and be thankful as a result of being content with what you have. And may you be comforted by the truth that God is always with you.