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15th July: What is Enough?

There is great gain in godliness with contentment. 1 Timothy 6:6

God promises that the needs of his children will be met. But wants have a habit of becoming needs, and luxuries necessities. It may well be right to have a life-style commensurate with our professional status. It is right and responsible to make provision for our dependents (1 Tim 5:8), but hoarding 'to be on the safe side' can insidiously grow out of all proportion; as Dr John White observes, we say that we only want enough, yet with the years enough is constantly redefined.

'Money is not evil but dangerous.' 'The rich fool was not a fool for harvesting abundant crops. He was a fool for letting his crops fill his horizon and determine his life-style' (The Golden Cow, John White). The preacher of Ecclesiastes certainly knew about its dangers. The problems of plenty are as great as those of want (Ec 5:10-16). Money accumulating in the bank is no good to anyone (v11), and hoarding only damages the hoarder (v13). The more we have the more we want (V10). Priding ourselves on our pious disregard of 'terms and conditions', we are only too glad if others negotiate them favourably for us. The more we have the more we find to spend it on (v11) -- a sort of 'Parkinson's law' -- and wealth, far from easing our worries often robs us of our peace (v12).

What a tragedy if, in seeking financial security for ourselves and our families, we rob our children of the chance to prove the faithfulness of God on whom we profess to be dependent.

Should we then despise money? Should we get rid of it all as evil? As a relatively well paid profession we cannot opt out of our stewardship. God has infinite resources, but he usually dispenses them via the Christian pocket. Perhaps some in missionary service can hardly be said to have enough! It is a salutary exercise to keep account for one week of money spent for ourselves and that spent for God.

Lord, who has given us richly all things to enjoy,
touch and control our pockets as well as our hearts, so
that our commitment to you may involve all that we have
as well as all that we are.

Further reading: 1 Tim 6:17-21.

MC

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