by Allan Knapp
“Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” ~ Hebrews 13:5
These verses in Hebrews are in the midst of a famous set of commands: “Let brotherly love continue,” “Show hospitality to strangers,” “Remember those who are in prison,” “Let marriage be held in honor.” And then, “Keep your life free from love of money” and “be content with what you have.”
Wow. How can we possibly do all those things? We can’t. By ourselves we can’t summon contentment or fulfill any of these healthy ordinances. But the verse offers hope because it tells WHY we can be content even as we fail in all the other areas.
Note first that money is not the problem. As 1 Timothy 6:10 famously says, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils.” Love of money is likely a bad thing. Love of money is not THE root of ALL evils, just a root of all kinds of evils. Rich and poor people can both have an unhealthy love of money. Rich and poor people can be generous and God-honoring with all their possessions. As Pastor Jason said in a sermon recently, “It’s about the heart, Christian.” So be free from the love of money, AND be content with what you have.
But wait, we know that envy and jealousy are not good things, but what about goals and aspirations, and striving for improvement? Surely this verse is not telling us to be couch potatoes? Certainly not. Ambition and a good work ethic are positive things, and it is good to have a plan and set goals. However, the key thing to remember as you work toward your goals is what you have right now. This simple phrase and trustworthy promise allows you to be content: God has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
If you have God, you have everything. No matter what life throws at you, no matter how your goals and aspirations and striving turn out, no matter how much success (or how much of a failure) you have… you can be content because God is with you.
Consider these verses:
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33
I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. Romans 8:18
I am sure that neither death nor life, nor rulers nor angels, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39
It is worth repeating: If you have God, you have everything. Be content with what you have.