“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
Paul wraps up his first letter to Timothy with some explicit teaching about the dangers of money. In context, Paul was confronting those for whom “godliness” was just another way to bolster their bank accounts—but Paul’s words serve as a flashing warning sign for all of us tempted to worship the fleeting promises of riches and wealth.
According to Paul, the desire for accumulating riches first entangles but eventually destroys. “The love of money is a root of all kinds of evils” (v. 10) that, left unchecked, can even lead a person to leave the faith altogether. This isn’t to say money is a bad thing. It’s often a necessary tool for living on this side of eternity. Even Jesus and his disciples kept a moneybag. The problem isn’t that we have money—the problem is when our money has us.
So what about those that have been entrusted with considerable wealth in this age? Paul encourages Timothy to remind them that, while their riches are temporary and uncertain, God is neither, and it is he “who richly provides us with everything to enjoy” (v. 17). Therefore, those who have generously received from God are charged to be conduits of God’s generosity.
In the end, the goal isn’t to have more money. For that matter, the goal isn’t even to have less money. According to Paul, the end goal is contentment—being satisfied with what the Lord has entrusted to you and leveraging that for God’s glory and the good of others.