By Chris Compton
I have been reflecting recently on some of the things I learned from my parents. I was blessed to grow up in a Christian home. My parents took me to church regularly. They taught me a great deal about the Bible, and through their example I developed a picture of a loving and generous God.
Of the many things I learned from them, one thing has stuck out to me recently: the proper view and handling of money. My parents honored God with their first fruits, never lived beyond their means, always paid their bills on time, and avoided debt as much as possible. If they ever had debt, it was paid off quickly. At times in my life, I haven’t followed their example. If I had, I would have lived within my means and avoided debt. I know I am not alone in this, and it may be a problem for you now. It could be for your children.
Consumer debt has reached an all-time high. Not only is debt a problem in American culture at large, it is also a problem within the church. Christians spend money they do not have, and they spend it for stuff they do not need. As a result, stress levels are high, homes are fractured, and the ability to live with the open hands God desires is diminished.
How does a person get to that point? What robs a believer of joy and satisfaction in God’s provision? Is money really the root of evil? While some might blame the ease with which credit is accessible, the real thief is not credit card companies or money itself. It is discontentment. First Timothy 6:10 says, “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” This is one of the most misunderstood passages regarding money. Many wrongly teach that “money is the root of all evil.” This is simply not true. Money is morally neutral. God Himself acknowledges it has a purpose. The problem is not with money but what we ask of it.
Many Christians wrongly assume money and what it can buy will satisfy their desires. They don’t stop to realize that when they expect it to satisfy them, they ask it to be a savior of sorts. Money will never satisfy because money was never meant to satisfy. It will not buy contentment because it cannot buy contentment. Money may have the capacity to satisfy wants, but it has no capacity to satisfy desires.
Debt and discontentment cannot be resolved through budgeting or better money management. While those things are helpful, they are not the solution. Discontentment is not a conduct issue but a heart issue, and real change takes place in the heart. Only the grace of God in the gospel can transform our heart to be content in Jesus. First Timothy 6:6 says: “But godliness with contentment is great gain.”
All of us need peace and fulfillment. The hard reality is that many look to meet those needs with the wrong thing. Money is not enough, but Jesus is. And when Jesus is enough, what He provides will be, too.
About the Writer: Chris Compton is communications officer for the Free Will Baptist Board of Retirement. He graduated in 2007 with a M.A. in Bible exposition from Columbia International University. A 1998 graduate of East Tennessee State University, he has over 13 years of administrative/financial experience in varied fields as well as seven years of pastoral ministry experience.