We live in a world that gives the impression that “success” is measured by material wealth and monetary achievement. So many people are caught up in their worldly desires and selfish ambitions feeling they need fortune and fame in order to be happy and fulfilled.
However, at the same time, there are many Christians who have over-swung the pendulum and seem to believe that poverty and barely getting by goes hand-in-hand with being “spiritual.” It’s like many believers have the idea that it is wrong to be successful in the eyes of the world–or to even try to be–and that it is noble to live hand-to-mouth.
I believe that both of these views are unhealthy and the key to having a healthy viewpoint of wealth and worldly success is getting in touch with our heart on the matter. It is wrong to think that being wealthy and making tons of money is going to make us happy and create contentment. We should seek to be content with what we have while in pursuit of what we want and, yes, I think it is good to strive for goals and dreams and desires if they are pursued for the right reasons. Most importantly we should understand that true wealth and contentment come from a healthy relationship with God through Jesus Christ, and that should always be our number one objective in life.
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” – Matthew 6:19-21
Putting an unhealthy focus on becoming rich and achieving material success is a surefire way to end up disappointed, disillusioned, and constantly feeling empty and unfulfilled.
“Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.” – 1 Timothy 6:6-11
As the Word of God instructs us, we are to pursue godliness, faith, love, patience, and gentleness. Jesus clearly taught that we cannot serve both God and money (Matthew 6:24), and also that we shouldn’t live in constant fear of how we are going to take care of ourselves and have our needs met. (Matthew 6:25-34)
However, we should not fear being wealthy or successful either. If we have talents and abilities that can lead to prosperity in business, or if God blesses us with abundance and monetary gain, we should never forget that everything we have belongs to God and we must be good stewards of any gifts God bestows. (1 Peter 4:10) If we do become rich and successful in worldly terms, let us remember that overflow and abundance should be used to help those in need and do great things for God’s Kingdom.
“Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.” – 1 Timothy 6:17-19
Whether we find ourselves very wealthy in this life or living a very meager existence, we should always keep this in mind:
IF GOD IS ALL WE HAVE, WE HAVE ALL WE NEED.
What side of this coin have you tended to fall on? Do you have any unhealthy views of money and worldly “success” that God needs to purify in order for you to get the most out of life? Are you able to be content and secure in Christ alone?