I once overheard a friend say he couldn’t wait to have disposable income so he could really glorify God and be generous. As I am continuing on in my journey of learning about contentment, I see what a grave lie this is. Not only is it a lie, it is also simply choosing not to trust God with his will for our lives.
Many times over and over I have believed this belief. I have wanted to have more money so I could give better Christmas presents, bring better dishes or wine to parties, or simply be able to pay for people’s dinners at random. While it is not a bad desire for me to want to be generous, it is a silly thing for me to become fixated on this state as one in which enables me to serve God better.
Throughout scripture God uses both the poor and rich to further his glory. It is not the wealth of the man that does great things for people, it is the heart of the man or woman. It is through faith that people are able to make real impact on one another- faith in Jesus Christ. And all the glory ought to go to God, not ourselves.
And this is where the danger lies in being wealthy. Jesus makes various statements warning about the difficult situation of being wealthy:
No servant can serve two masters, for he will either hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
A slack hand causes poverty, but the diligent makes rich.
For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world yet forfeit his soul?
These verses make a few things clear to me. The first is that there will always be tension in the heart of a person who has money in regards to how to spend it wisely. I find myself there ALL THE TIME. I struggle with finding the best use of my finances to honor God. I cannot imagine how difficult that struggle would be if I were a millionaire or billionaire.
The second is that earning honest money takes hard, honest work. It is probably not extremely difficult to rake in cash doing work that is illegal, scheming, or that steals from others. We see that happen all the time. No, to earn money honestly takes hard work. It usually doesn’t come easy.
Last, it is easy to get caught up in “the world” when it comes to money. Mark 8:36 is a reminder to always regard the soul as more valuable than any earthly idols.
God is pleased if I can be content in any circumstance in which he puts me in. He is pleased if I can adapt from one situation to another with a humble spirit, always earnestly desiring to ask the question, “Lord, how can I make the best use of my resources now to glorify you”. I am to ponder about how I can be of service to him every day- whether I am rich or poor. God can use a poor man or a rich man to further his kingdom, and does this all the time.
As I sit and think about this it makes me feel joy that there is so much God has given me to bless others. A simple loaf of bread, a kind word, or even just being close to a friend. I am comforted knowing I can aquire wisdom in how to serve others well and make them feel loved.
I hope I can continue to be humbled and have my heart softened as I learn what contentment looks like. I am a long way off, but eager to taste more and more of the fruit of contentment in my life and others.
So whether I wake up tomorrow to a devastation or our family finds ourselves prospering beyond our dreams (or both at once), I hope I will continue to enjoy God and make myself serviceable for his glory through tears of sadness or tears of joy. God is good and he uses all circumstances to sanctify me and help me to learn how much I can truly lean on him. Easier said than done, but through him it is possible.