by John D. Morris, Ph.D.
“Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way. . . . A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked” (Psalm 37:7,16).
Today it seems that everyone wants riches. It is bad enough that the non-Christian yuppie will sacrifice all for riches, but a materialistic mindset has even spilled over into Christendom.
Make no mistake! There are Scriptural promises that “God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19) and even promises that He may reward diligence and hard work, as well as generosity, with financial gain. But there are many more Scriptural passages which warn against riches and their pursuit: Matthew 6:19–21; Mark 4:19; I Timothy 6:6–19; etc. God may bring riches our way as a gift of His grace, but if He does, such resources should be used properly, all the while maintaining a Biblical perspective toward them.
Whether the Christian has much or little, the Bible insists that we “Let (our) conversation [manner of life] be without covetousness; and be content with such things as (we) have: for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5). We have needs! Our Father knows that, and has promised to supply!
Contentment is a state of mind, not a bank account or a luxurious home. Paul, who by training, abilities, and profession had every reason to expect an easy life, “learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content” (Philippians 4:11). We should recognize that: “Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues without right” (Proverbs 16:8) and strive instead for Christ-likeness. “Godliness with contentment is great gain . . . having food and raiment let us be therewith content” (I Timothy 6:6,8). JDM