Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” (verses 5-6)
A few years back we were planning for future retirement, looking at savings and expenses and wondering if we’d have enough to sustain our current patterns after the paycheque stopped. Of course, there were many questions wrapped up in that: Was our current lifestyle even reasonable? Were there needless expenses? Were our future hopes and dreams justified? Were there other calls on our resources which we hadn’t even yet acknowledged?
All such questions can settle themselves into a sharp focus on money. Is there a yearning in my heart to get my hands on more and more? Is the “love of money” gripping me?
It seems the antidote in these short verses comes down to two things: Contentment and Trust. Let’s deal with the last first.
I’m intrigued with the particular Old Testament scriptures that the author brings forward to combat this money-love. “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” This isn’t the first passage I would have thought of in relationship to monetary concerns. But of course, it’s bang-on – it’s powerful. If the Lord is with me, never to forsake me, what cause do I have to worry about anything? I’m invited into a profound place of trust. I can’t forecast the future adequately anyway. All the best financial planning in the world could be thrown out the window by unforeseen events, more pandemics, worldwide turmoil, unexpected financial calamity. This doesn’t give reason to forego careful planning. But it is added impetus to make the bottom-line “Trust.” Trust in the Lord who is always with me, both now and into every single day of my future. Trust in the Lord who will never let me down, come what may.
This is nailed home by the next Old Testament quotation: “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” If the Lord is my helper (and my Shepherd, and my Shield, and my very great reward, and on and on) and is also with me, then of course, I have no need whatsoever to fear. To this I cling. So, what can man do to me, not to mention fluctuations in housing costs, or financial markets, or the world price of oil, or global warming crises, or hostile government actions, or whatever. No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us – and loves us still.
So “Trust” is huge – it’s the foundational means of combatting the love of money. But it also leads naturally into “Contentment.” “Be content with what you have.” In the peaceful pastures of Trust, settle down in Contentment. The Lord knows exactly what we need (Matthew 6:32). So, gratefully receive from his hand what he provides, without clamouring for more.
“Keep your lives free from the love of money.” Yes. Instead, I will keep on embracing these two God-given gifts: Trust and Contentment.
The future is in his hands.
Father, I commit myself to you afresh. You are the Great Provider. I will trust in you. I will be content with what you bring. Strengthen me by your Spirit to hold money loosely, using it for your purposes.
Reflect: Which word stretches you the most: Contentment or Trust? What tangible step could you take today to press more deeply into the reality of the word?