Wednesday, June 21, 2017


"Make sure your that your character is free from the love of money,
being content with what you have..."

"Let your conversation be without covetousness;
and be content with such things as ye have..."

Here is what Adam Clarke had to say about this...

"'Let your 'conversation' That is, the whole tenor of your conduct, the manner of your life, or rather the disposition of your hearts in reference to all your secular transactions...'Be without covetousness' Desire nothing more than what God has given you; and especially nothing which the Divine Providence has given to another man, for this is the very spirit of robbery.  'Content with such things as ye have' Being satisfied with present things...The covetous man is ever running out into futurity with insatiable desires after secular good; and , if this disposition be not checked, it increases as the subject of it increases in years.  Covetousness is the vice of old age."

Andrew Murray says, "In money we have the concrete embodiment of all that the possessions of the world can offer.  And so in the love of money we have the very spirit of the world...In money itself there is no sin.  Is it not one of God's good gifts?  May not the possession of it be the proof of honest labour and diligence and forethought, of self-denial and wise economy; a token of God's blessing on our work; a power to help others and benefit society.  Is not poverty frequently a sign of sloth and sin?  Is not money one great means for attaining God's purpose?..."

He goes on saying, "Scripture knows and teaches all this.  And yet it raises its voice aloud and cries: Beware of covetousness.  'The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.' (I Timothy 6:9-10,16-18)...Let the treasure in heaven, the being rich in the heavenly riches of a holy character...we shall be content in any lot, and shall in contentment find our safeguard against anxious care of love of money."

Not covetousness, not love of money, but being content with what we have...

Much has been written about the love of money, but the main point is being content.  The best way I know is to be like a child, feeling kept, provided for by our gracious Father. 

That's one reason one  of my favorite verses is--(after earlier in the chapter James speaks of brothers of humble circumstances and rich men in humiliation, because like flowering grass he will pass away)--"Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow."  Here's the Scottish version from a writing by George MacDonald...

"Ye was at the kirk last Sunday, wasna ye?...An' didna ye hear the minister read frae the buik at hoo ilke guid an ilka perfet gift was frae abuve, an' cam frae the Father of lichts?"

Therefore, everything good we have is a gift.  That way we skip over the feeling sorry for ourselves suffering from by-the-sweat-of-our-brow-ism.  Who doesn't want an easy way out?  No wonder our eyes tend to look longingly at money as where help comes from instead of our help coming from God.  I know, I know, we can't just sit around and wait for gifts to fall in our laps like manna dropping from heaven.  But we have a Father.  Sometimes we forget and think it is all about us and what we can grab out of this life.   Rather be content.  Contentment is defined by trust.  This is the ahh of life, the possibility to enjoy life by trusting God. 

Remember that this is written to a displaced people.  Remember that the Early Church expected the immediate return of Christ, and they were selling all they had and sharing with one another.  Perhaps God used this excitement of letting loose of possessions in preparation for the necessity of fleeing for their lives because of persecution.  Here the author is reminding them it's okay.  They can have contentment.  Perhaps their covetousness is thinking back to what they had, and what they gave up while the fat cats, fellow Jews--carpetbaggers, so to speak--had grabbed up what they had left behind.  The irony is that those greedy Jews were either killed or were taken captive when Jerusalem was destroyed in about 70 A.D. just as Jesus said it would be.  God had plucked His people out of their daily comfortable lives, had shaken them loose of those things they had been clinging to, and put them in the hollow of His hand to be kept safe.

There is so much more that can be said about these verses, probably because nothing gets under our skin as much as talking or thinking about money.  But let's change the emphasis to contentment.  This is playing out in our lives under our roof.  This house is a gift from God.  Everything in our savings is a gift from God.  My husband loves his work and planned to work until he died.  Well, he almost did!  So rethinking the whole being content with what we have is spot on.  We can fight it or rest in God's providence, even in an abrupt change of lifestyle called retirement.

Remember no hearse has a U-Haul and every coffin is made with approximately the same dimensions no matter whose bones are laid to rest in them, rich or poor.  Even Steve Jobs in his last words spoke of wealth not being able to buy someone else to take his place in his hospital bed, and wealth could not prevent the falling curtain on his life, and how love was the only thing that lasted. 

Are you content?

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