"But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content. But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs." (1 Timothy 6:6-10)This verse tells us several things about riches, our need for them, and our desire for them. First, Paul shows us that true riches are those things for which we cannot covet. We can covet for things, such as cars, houses, and wives, but we cannot covet for true riches such as righteous, peace, and joy. We covet our neighbors' boat because we know we could steal it, we covet his wife because we know we could seduce it, but how does one covet and in hopes of attaining his neighbors' peace or joy? True riches are not the things of this world that may be possessed, but they come from above and are granted by God and given to willing and worthy souls. Unfortunately, much of our life is spent in the pursuit of those things that have no real value while at the same time ignoring and forsaking those things that truly make one rich. To find true happiness we must first find those things that have true worth, and to be eternally happy, those things that are eternally good.
Secondly, it is important to understand the foundation of contentment in this world. Contentment is possible when the basic needs of of a person are met, that being, food, covering, and shelter. It is hard for one to be content when they are hungry, cold, and constantly exposed to the elements. Similarly, it is hard to pursue things of eternal value when your stomach is screaming our from temporal satisfaction. James, in reminding us that faith without works is dead, said, "If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and be filled," and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?" (James 2:15-16) Sometimes it is necessary to first give to the basic needs of a person before they are content enough to even consider reconciliation with God. Sometimes people are so concerned with meeting their needs now that they cannot think or concern themselves with eternity. In these cases it becomes the church to minister to their immediate needs that they may, in becoming content, later learn to desire the Lord with as much wholeheartedness as they once used to desire their next meal.
Finally, Paul warns of the dangers of pursuing money and riches. Many are those who desire to be rich, but few are those who understand the dangers associated with riches and their pursuit. The pursuit of riches is a dangerous path that is lined with temptation and snares and whose end is ruin and destruction. You may say, "but look, many have become rich." but at what cost? For the problem is not the riches, for they are neither good nor bad, but the problem is the pursuit. When men make money as their focus, they loose sight of those things that have true value and they make the temporal gain of riches their aim rather than eternity. They forsake all for the sake of money and, in doing so, sow destruction, pain, and sorrow to many around them. In the end, they may find what they seek, but they are as the children of Israel who longed for meat, "And He gave them their request, but sent leanness into their soul." (Psalm 106:15 NKJV) Jesus similarly reminded us, "For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?" (Matthew 16:26) If a man, or woman, truly desires to be rich, let them seek the Lord and let riches be His reward. For riches from the Lord are sure and add to our joy rather than steeling from it. "It is the blessing of the Lord that makes rich, and He adds no sorrow to it." (Proverbs 10:22)