But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world and we can take nothing out of it. – 1 Timothy 6:6-7
In 1936, the hilarious play written by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart, You Can’t Take it With You, opened at Booth Theatre, staring Jimmy Stewart, Lionel Barrymore and a host of other livewire actors. The play ended up being the basis for the 1933 Academy Award winning film by the same name.
In this play, two wacky families come together for a hilarious stage of quirky events, one in which the grandfather is investigated by the IRS for tax evasion. Throughout this play the audiences howl over by the many eccentric oddities of these families, when at last the famous sentence “You can’t take it with you” evolves.
Though this play brings you to your knees laughing, there is one sad underlying theme – it’s the dishonesty and personal greed worked into the lives of these family members. Everytime I see this play or the movie, I find myself roaring with laughter over a somewhat sad situation. The facts boil down to this: our earthly riches are purely earthly and they have nothing to do with our spiritual eternity.
Greed rears its head in many ways. Sometimes it is through the desire for wealth, but other times it is through our own personal selfishness. When someone asks us to volunteer for a cause, we quickly become greedy with our time. We don’t want to participate due to time restraints. Or perhaps we see a homeless person begging on the side of the road and our first response is, “Why don’t they get a job?” That’s greed as well.
Christ taught the ultimate “greed-free” lesson when He willingly climbed
He tried over His short ministry to teach people that the wealth of the earth was unimportant. He taught that one couldn’t take their riches with them to heaven. Look at the story of the rich young man. He claimed to be such a good person and when he asked Jesus how to get to heaven, Jesus told him to sell his riches, give them to the poor, and follow Him. Jesus told him that his riches would be in heaven. The man, basically, walked away in tears.
Again, the theme is there. “You can’t take it with you!” This is not to say that one cannot enjoy earthly riches, but as a good friend once said, “When you have wealth, it’s not how much you have, but what and how you use it, that counts.” How true. Humanitarians willingly and joyfully share their wealth daily – what is amazing is, the more they give the more they receive (both in wealth and in joy).
Godliness and contentment are wonderful gifts. Strive for these and aim for a greed-free life. Remember, you can’t take it with you.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, help us to remain humble, freely giving, willingly offering all that we have to you.