Instruct those who are rich in the present age not to be arrogant or to set their hope on the uncertainty of wealth, but on God, who richly provides us with all things to enjoy.
1 Timothy 6:17
Status Symbols and Wealth
Can you think of something that you desperately wanted as a child? Maybe it was a toy, a style of sneaker, or even a pony. Was there anything that stood out specifically as the ultimate status symbol of wealth? What did you set your sights on one day owning that would help you to theoretically achieve perfect peace and contentment? (Obviously, each of our answers to this question will vary.)
One thing that doesn’t seem to vary, though, is the human tendency to have our hope set on the uncertain. Regardless of our material wealth—whether we are richer or poorer—we all must set our hope on God, not on what we have. It is He alone who can most certainly provide for our every need.
Arrogance or Acknowledgement?
The apostle Paul responds to the question, “On whom should our sense of certainty and security be set?” And his short answer is “Never ourselves, and only God.” He writes about the arrogance that stems from a false sense of certainty in self. We wrongly believe ourselves to have achieved a more wealthy and worthy lifestyle on our own accord. Our default response isn’t to acknowledge God alone to be the source of what we need.
We too often stake our livelihood on our own abilities to provide; we have our hope set on the uncertain, rather than on He who endures past our uncertain circumstances. The ultimate symbol of true wealth is the joy and the hope that overflow from He who “richly provides us with all things to enjoy.” Life in Him transcends any material gain.
With Eyes Set on The Eternal
We often think, “Okay, if I can just get this promotion…” or “If I can just save up enough money for this ONE thing…” that we will achieve endless, boundless joy. God reminds us, though, that He is the source of every good gift (James 1:17) and that His rich provision goes beyond material wealth and on into the eternal.
More often than not, our view of material wealth is just as simple and misguided as it was when we were children, except now our ego leads us to believe we can achieve and receive what we need on our own; the gospel relinquishes that control from us. We remember that He alone provides and gives us what we need to enjoy Himself (and His subsequent good gifts) forever.
Have you reached the point in your faith journey where your certainty is set on Christ alone? Or are you still reaching for other people or things to achieve the joy, hope, and fulfillment that only He can provide? Take some time to reflect on where your treasure is (Matthew 6:21). Remember that He is for you and your infinite hope and joy.