When I was growing up, I remember one of the most exciting things about the weekend was watching Saturday morning cartoons on TV. One of my favorite cartoons was a show called DuckTales, which was the story of three ducks named Huey, Louie, and Dewey. These three brothers were the nephews of the slightly more famous Donald Duck, and were grandnephews of the richest man in Duckburg named Scrooge McDuck. While I really don’t remember much of what these characters actually did for 30 minutes every Saturday, I distinctly remember a part of the show’s intro theme song when Scrooge McDuck would dive headfirst into his pool of gold coins as if to show off just how over-the-top wealthy he was. I wasn’t even 10 years old but I remember wondering how much cooler life would be if I became rich enough to have a pool of gold coins that I could dive into every morning.
Now it’s a little bit ridiculous to think of diving into gold coins, and honestly that would probably be really painful. But what I was really thinking about was a desire to have more money, and the accompanying thought that if I did everything would be perfect. That thought I had as a kid is the same thought that occupies many people’s minds today: Life would be so much better if I just had more money… Out of this mindset, many people in today’s culture are often pouring out their lives for the sole purpose of gaining as much money and possessions as possible. Still others fall for, and ironically spend their money on, the “Get Rich Quick” schemes that clever people on TV promise will make them rich beyond their wildest dreams, guaranteed!
In 1st Timothy chapter 6, Paul gives Timothy some warnings about wanting to be rich:
9 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.10 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.
Paul gives some very clear warnings about desiring to be rich, and what that leads to. He compares it to a snare and something that leads to ruin and destruction. The truth is, money is a gift from God, and it is necessary for things like food and clothing. The key is finding contentment (verse 8) in God’s gifts and not loving them more than the giver. Just like verse 10 says, as soon as we begin to love money, or any other gracious provision from God, we begin to wander away from Him.
While Paul’s warning against desiring to be rich is very clear, he in turn instructs Timothy to tell others to strive to be a different kind of rich:
18 They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share…
God is the creator and giver of all things, and that includes money. But there’s a difference between longing to be wealthy and cheerfully thanking God for the relative wealth that He gives you, knowing that the money you possess may not have been given to you just for you. When we trust God and think about money with the mindset that it’s all a gift from Him and has a purpose, there’s a different kind of “Get Rich Quick” scheme: strive to be rich in generosity and sharing.