“Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.” – 1 Timothy 6:17-19
People tend to think they could be more effective, or more happy, if they had more money. But “more” is seldom the answer to anything. In fact, money is seldom the key answer to any problem. Riches are “uncertain”. We don’t want to trust in something that is uncertain.
A better agenda than “more” is to be shrewd in using the assets we already possess. God grades us on what we do with what we have, not what we would do with what we don’t have. Jesus tells us “To whom much is given, much is expected.” This makes it clear that in God’s economy, more money mainly brings more responsibility.
The upper 1% of the wealthiest people in the world earn roughly $32,000 per year. It is only slightly more than the $25,000 annual income that defines the US poverty level for a family of four. The world’s median annual income is about $1500. The average US teenager has about six times more spending money than the average person on Earth earns in total.
If Americans have more money than 99% of the people in the world, then we have to say we are wealthy. So this verse applies. Has all the wealth made Americans happier? It seems doubtful. The American suicide rate has risen dramatically over the past decades.
This might be why this verse tells us God has given us “richly all things to enjoy”. Enjoying what we already have is something we can all improve on.
This verse also tells us to be generous. Giving helps assure that we possess money, rather than it possessing us. Let’s follow this command, and enjoy what we already have. Let’s say “no” to the world’s assertion that happiness always lies just out of our reach, in the land of “More.”