It’s human nature to play the comparison game and notice everyone who has more than you and think they have it so good. What’s hard is being content. What’s difficult is noticing people who appear to have less than you or to be “worse off” than you.
What it comes down to is perspective. What it comes down to is focusing on the wrong things. Money, fame, and material possessions don’t guarantee happiness, and being poor doesn’t mean you’ll live in a constant state of depression. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying there is anything inherently good or bad about being in either position…they are both morally neutral. What I’m saying is that in all things we need to learn to be content. Stop comparing yourself to others. Yeah, there are poeple better off than you, but if you live in America, then 99% of the people in the rest of the world are worse off than you by the standard of living in America.
Jesus said in Matthew 6:21, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” It is key to note that he didn’t say, “Where your heart is, there your treasure will be also.” We can easily fool ourselves by saying our heart is focused on heavenly things, but the truth will be clearly seen by where we spend our “treasures” (our time and money).
There is nothing wrong with money, but if we let money control us and use it only for our pleasures then we can fall into the trap of “the love of money.” 1 Timothy 6:10 says, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” Again, money is not the problem, the love of money is the problem, and it is a heart problem.
Ultimately money will fail you. If you read the preceding verses in Matthew 6:19-20, Jesus said, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.” A few sentences later in verse 24 he continues, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
Money can be a great tool to help others. I’ve known people who seem to have the gift of making money, where everything they touch turns to gold. They live comfortably but not extravagantly. They could have easily stored up treasures here, but instead they use that gift to bless others by giving it away…by finding people in need and finding a way to help them.
If you realize that everything you have is a gift from God, and that ultimately it is all His anyway, you can be free of the love of money. Stop letting your possessions possess you. It isn’t easy, and this is a battle I have to fight daily. So, how do you keep your treasure in the right place then? Paul knows the answer and shares it in Philippians 4:12-13, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
How has this been a struggle in your life? What happened when you began to put your “treasure” in the right place?