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More Than Enough

budget desire economy finances grace love money poverty strength wealth work Sep 29, 2022

“For the love of money is the root of all evils, and some people in their desire for it have strayed from the faith and have pierced themselves with many pains” (1 Timothy 6:10).

“I have learned, in whatever situation I find myself, to be content. I know indeed how to live in humble circumstances; I know also how to live with abundance. In every circumstance and in all things I have learned the secret of being well fed and of going hungry, of living in abundance and of being in need. I have the strength for everything through him who empowers me” (Philippians 4:11–13).

These striking lines of Saint Paul’s prose are not brought to our attention enough. “For the love of money is the root of all evils.” It is interesting to notice that Saint Paul does not say that “money is the root of all evils” but that “the love of money (philagyria) is the root of all evils” – the root of all evils! It seems easy to fall in love with money because with money comes all the good things money can buy. Is it not true that having more money grants access to more material goods and to more potential to go where one wants to go and to do what one wants to do? Yet, if the desires of one’s heart are set on money, are not these same desires stolen away from God and neighbor? Jesus says as much: “You cannot serve God and wealth” (Matthew 6:24).

Saint Paul’s testimony from his letter to the Philippians appears to supply the other part of the equation. If I am resigned not to desire money, then, at the same time, I must learn to be content with the natural fluctuation of little and much. Saint Paul claims that he has “learned the secret” of living content in circumstances of both surplus and poverty. He points to the essence of this secret: the Lord Jesus Christ who empowers him to have the strength for everything. The Christian logic that Saint Paul discloses is that the one who desires Christ will have enough – in fact will have “more than enough of every kind of grace” and “more than enough for every kind of good work” (2 Corinthians 9:8).

Even more, we cannot forget that Jesus taught: “Blessed are you who are poor, for the kingdom of God is yours. Blessed are you who are hungry, for you will be satisfied” (Luke 6:20–21). Even Jesus himself was poor and counted among the anawim (“poor ones, little ones, bowed down, neglected, faithful remnant”) of the Jewish people. Saint Paul reminds us of this fact when he says, “For you know the gracious act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that for your sake he became poor although he was rich, so that by his poverty you might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9). May we know by now that the riches that Christ gives are not financial but spiritual. And may we learn to be content with “more than enough,” even when it seems that it is not enough.

© Donald Wallenfang, My Interior Castle, 2022

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