The Real Way to Become Rich
What if I told you that God wants you to be rich?
I’m sure there would be a mixture of thoughts and feelings you might have in response to that statement! You might just roll your eyes at me, and think about the many unfortunate stories of churches taking advantage of people with promises that God will trade His wealth for their faith. I certainly understand that concern.
However there is a perspective that recalibrates our understanding of God’s intention for our possessions…
There is what God gives, and then, of course, there is what we have, and that usually sums up our perspective. But the bible points us to another consideration, as well, and that’s in how we use it.
In scripture, the apostle Paul holds a very interesting relationship with young Timothy – the new pastor in the city of Ephesus. Timothy is charged with shepherding people who live in financial extremes. Some very rich, some very poor. So, in his first letter to him, Paul is coaching Timothy on dealing with believers who are in the same city, attend the same church, but live in 2 different financial worlds.
He starts with an encouragement for the poor.
6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
1 Timothy 6:6-10 (NIV)
Paul says, Tell them this….WHAT YOU HAVE does not determine WHO YOU HAVE!
This is a very significant insight for the church! Those who came from the Jewish tradition had a framework to understand God’s blessing as one that showed up visibly as material possession. Those who had more, obviously, must have more of God! So in a culture where many people were aggressively seeking to enrich themselves, the church was looking to understand God’s hand in it.
So, Paul tells Timothy – let them know this: The more of God I gain, the more content I become.
Not the more money you gain…Not the more stuff you get…The culture has a way of leading you to believe that you can replace God with something else. But none of those things will ever be enough! The Lord says, “Those things won’t satisfy YOU, and they certainly won’t satisfy ME!”
So, you can spend all your time “chasing the bag” – but when you finally get it, it WON’T mean that you will actually have God! In fact, you might discover that “the bag” has actually become the “god” you prefer!
Paul warns them: LEARN to be content. Contentment says “I can have MORE by desiring LESS.”And that new difference between what I desire, and what I already have – becomes even greater margin for generosity.
There is an expectation that God has for the very things that we have.
And the more you understand this – the more you are learning HOW TO BE RICH.
Learn more about becoming rich through contentment by watching this message from Pastor Courtney Harkness