S53P4 – A picture of temptation: roots in discontent

1 Tim. 6:8-10

But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.

Madame Bovary was quite a compelling literary figure, especially in her day.  A romantic mind that constantly wandered through fantasy, her problem was accepting the truth of reality.  When she spotted the doctor, she instantly fell in love with the idea of being in love with someone like him.  Unfortunately, the reality of that future could not measure up to the picture she had painted in her mind.  Through marriage and through motherhood, see told herself over and over again that that was not the life she had chosen.  Her lack of contentment drove her to other men and to spending lavishly as she thought she deserved even though it would lead to her family’s ruin. When it all crumbled about her, she took matters and her life into her own hands. Her inability to be content led to a host of sins and a premature death at her own hands.

This fictional character is not such a work of fiction after all.  Her struggles were not invented or unique to her story.  This is part of the human condition for all of us.  To be content is to be transformed because we cannot reach that point on our own.  Today’s scripture shows us how the discontented heart will seek out satisfaction in ways that God never meant for us.  We might not act out in the drastic ways that the country doctor’s wife acted out, but her example is one to be considered.  If we are not content with what God brings us in life, whether that relates to finances or personal relationships, we open the door to the temptation to seek more than what we are to have.  Often, that will take us down a path of doing the wrong things because we are trying to get somewhere that God has not intended us to be.  The only way to do that is in our own strength and by our own methods, and that is not where our dependence should lie.

The caution against riches is not because money itself is evil.  It also does not indicate that God has a problem with someone having a lot of money.  I believe the problem is one of entitlement.  We must be able to submit to God completely, which means that we trust that He will put us in the financial position He desires for us.  We cannot fool ourselves into believing that we somehow deserve more.  If it is not in his plan for us to be wealthy, then that is something that we do not need to seek. His provision can be very lean at times, but we must be content with that.  If we spend our time seeking riches we are not meant to have, we run the risk a compromising our morality to get there.  Father, give us hearts that are completely content in You so that no amount of need would compel us to seek gain by our own methods.