Last night, I asked a wise woman if she had any advice to offer me. It’s a great practice to ask older men and women what advice they have for you. You might also ask older people to speak a blessing over you. We miss out on so much when we don’t engage older generations like this.
So I asked the question. Then I listened carefully.
This woman, like so many other wise people in my life, answered with a warning:
Don’t love money. Don’t seek fame. But mostly, don’t love money.
She called these the “shiny things.” I laughed and nodded my head.
I went to bed thinking about “the shiny things” and how to run from them. I woke up thinking about this temptation.
Then I read 1 Timothy 6 with fresh eyes. Here, we receive a timely exhortation:
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. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.
I read the words, and I prayed for a deeply content heart for both my family and me. I prayed we would follow our purpose and listen to the Holy Spirit to give us right desires and to purge from us the “desire to be rich.” With this risky desire for wealth comes a dire warning. Expect temptations. Expect snares. Expect harmful desires that will ruin and destroy. Expect a dulled faith and a painful life.
Wow. I sit with the reality of this warning and ask God to make my heart right. Who wouldn’t love lots of money? Who wouldn’t want more and more wealth? But in God’s economy, we live with supernatural blessings that fill our lives with glorious satisfaction and contentment. Whether rich or poor, we access all the riches of God’s kingdom.
I’ve always heard it said that money is not evil, but the love of money is.
But still. This seems too tempting.
I used to pray words of surrender to God and say, “I’ll follow you, even if you make me poor.”
Today, I prayed, “I’ll follow you, even if you make me rich.” Suddenly, the rich life felt worse.
Whatever wealth God appoints for you and me, I pray we listen to Paul’s words and ask God for the supernatural wisdom to live a different way, to want different things, and to cultivate a contentment money can never buy.