I have a friend who rather regularly bemoans the fact that her family’s household income isn’t as great as that of others in our area. I did a little checking and it does seem that the real median income in 2016 for a household in the US was a bit over $59,000. Compare that with South County’s range of between $83,000 and $104,000 and it begs the question, “How much is enough?”
This year, there are over 2000 billionaires (with a “B”) and 56 of them were under the age of forty. Those stats (and tons of others) might suggest that our world is very fascinated with the accumulation of wealth.
In Paul’s first letter to Timothy, he seemed to focus on those material things. He told his young protégé that we arrive in this world with nothing and we are going out with the same.
He urged Timothy to be content with just the basics of food and clothing. He highlighted some money-grabbing folks who wandered from their faith. And he summed it all up with the statement that the love of money is the root of all evil.
So how can we tell if we have a heart filled with materialism?
Alistair Begg is his book Made For His Pleasure suggests some telltale signs that point to our inordinate love of money. He says we are guilty of loving the almighty dollar (or yen or mark or franc) when:
- Thoughts of money consume our day.
- Others’ successes make us jealous.
- We define success in terms of what we have rather that what we are in Christ.
- Our families are neglected in our pursuit of money.
- We close our eyes to the genuine needs of others
- We live in the paralyzing fear of losing it all.
The start of a new calendar year is a great time for a quick pause and a financial attitude adjustment. We need to remember two things:
One, God gives it all. (Deut. 8:18 “Remember the Lord your God for it is He who gives you the ability to produce wealth”). And secondly, no one can serve two masters (Matt. 6: 24b “You can not serve both God and money”).
Let’s just serve the one Master and reiterate the truth Paul discovered, “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”
I am convinced it will be enough.