Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.”
Don’t gloat over money or materials of the worldly be satisfied and content with all you have. For God tells us and spoke saying “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.”
New Living Translation
5 Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said,
“I will never fail you.
I will never abandon you.”[a]
5 Let your conversation be without acovetousness; and be bcontent with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor cforsake thee. 6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.
Hebrews 13:5 Meaning of Never Leave You nor Forsake You
“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’”
Explanation and Commentary of Hebrews 13:5
In this concluding section, the author reminds the church to keep going as Christians. He says to keep loving, keep showing hospitality, keeping remembering those in prison for the Gospel, keep the marriage bed pure, and “keep your lives from the love of money.” The encouragement is still toward perseverance (Heb 12:1).
These were all topics that were covered by their leaders when they first came to faith, but now a reminder is in order. By the time this letter was written, enough time had elapsed that the early church had lost many who were never really saved (1 Jn 2:19). The author is attempting to stop this from happening. The love of money was a special temptation for those who abandoned the faith (1 Tim 6:10). God provides what we need in trade for our services (generally), and we can continue to trust in Jesus who said that if we seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, he will add all the other things to us that we need to to survive and even thrive (Mt 6:33).
The love of money comes with a healthy dose of fear of not having it. Do you wonder if you love money? How fearful are you about not having as much as you want? Rather than finding meaningful work, or working a job in a meaningful way, trusting God to provide for your needs, many put the pursuit of money before all else, causing them to compromise other values to get it.
Breaking Down the Key Parts of Hebrews 13:5
#1 “Keep your lives free from the love of money…”
The fact that we are admonished to keep it free, implies that it is possible to start out with no trace of love for money, only to have it creep in later and wreck our lives. We must learn to recognize the signs that we are beginning to love it. Fear of lack is a sign of a heart that loves money, along with overworking, and the envy of others with wealth.
#2 “…and be content with what you have,”
It is sweet to trust God for what you have. The goal is to work in the Lord in your job, learning to value good and hard effort. Then one must learn to manage money as a steward of all that God has provided, and not foolishly squandering it by poor stewardship. Contentment comes with a trust in God that what you have is what you are supposed to have, and a heart of thankfulness to the God who provided it.
#3 “because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
We either believe this, or we do not. If God can be trusted, and he can, then this should be the most comforting fact in existence. We are saved and sealed by the Holy Spirit, and we cannot lose what we have been truly given. God is not going to forget to protect us, to provide for us, and to love us. He is always going to be there when you need him. Loving money would be a sign of our disbelief in his promises.
5 Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
be without covetousness [greed];
The desire to acquire more and more is “covetousness.” This includes lust for money, but it also involves undue desire for anything. Covetousness is inordinate desire. It seeks satisfaction in things other than God and His Word. The command “not to covet” requires moderation (Ex 20:17; Ro 7:7).
The inward motions of sin are deceptive.
Covetousness is the obsession with wanting more. These people can never acquire enough; they always want more. They constantly think about things they want. This is what occupies their attention. It makes no difference whether they acquire them or not, but this is their focus in life; they always want something that they do not have (Eccl 5:10). The more they acquire, the more they want. Material things can never satisfy the soul.
The argument of our verse is not that it is wrong to possess wealth. The problem is the “love of money” that spins off all kinds of problems (1 Ti 6:10). It is the trust in wealth that makes it sinful.
What Does Hebrews 13:5 Mean? ►
Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
The direction of our life, the tenor of our conversation, and the disposition of our hearts should always be pleasing to the Lord, for we are God’s children. We are to be holy for God is holy. We are to be perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect. We are to grow in grace and in a knowledge of our Saviour, Jesus Christ, as, in the power of the Holy Spirit, we are being transformed into His image, day by day.
Inner contentment is a significant key in achieving this godly objective. Hearts that seek the Lord learn to be satisfied in every situation of life and the person who is content is one that is not beset by envy or greed. Being comfortable with our life situation, kindling a heart that is content with our lot, and keeping ourselves from an attitude of covetousness, will enable us to live a positive Christian life and the writer to the Hebrews instructs us in this way: “Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He, Himself, has said, ‘I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you.'”
The closing chapters of Hebrews offer some excellent, ethical instructions on constructive Christian living, brotherly hospitality, and nurturing a godly concern for the needs of others, as well as giving some serious warnings about refusing God’s grace and rejecting His Word. It seems, from this verse, that a spirit of contentment could be a valuable guard against developing covetousness – an ungodly behaviour that spawns discontent, jealousy, grudges, and greed.
Contentment is one of the unnamed cousins of the fruit of the Spirit, for it has conquered the evil lust of covetousness which can be identified in many ungodly behaviours… like the lusts of the world, the lusts of the flesh, and the pride of life. Contentment is the product of a God-given peace that calms a troubled spirit and brings peace to a striving soul. It is found along the path that leads to purity, and is hidden in the heart of the man or woman who rests in Christ and casts all their cares upon Him.
Contentment is not to be found in financial security nor through the acquisition of things we would like to own. It is not discovered in positions of power nor can it be secured through seats of learning. Contentment has more to do with who a man is than what a man has and Paul put it like this in his epistle to the Philippians: “I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.”
While money can be an excellent servant of man and is able to do much good, the writer to the Hebrews identifies the love of money as a key hindrance to inner contentment. In his letter to Timothy, Paul also warns that the love of money is a root of all sorts of evils and that some believers have so hankered after money as to be led astray from the faith. When the love of money rears its ugly head, it spawns a covetous heart and gives birth to a soul that is restless and discontented.
Why should we be content with what we have? The writer to the Hebrews tells us: ” Be content with what you have; for He Himself has said, ‘I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you.'” Why should we Christians cultivate a contented disposition? Well, godliness with contentment is great gain, while a discontented soul breeds murmuring against God, as was seen in Israel’s wilderness walk, and grumbling is a poisonous root of unbelief that demonstrates a lack of faith in the Lord our God.
God, in His grace, has given us many precious blessings and has promised never to leave us nor forsake us, no matter how fiercely the bitter winds of trial batter our lives and irrespective of other people who may have betrayed or hurt us. May we develop a character that is free from the love of money and may we strive to be content in all things, knowing that He Himself has promised to be with us in all the changing scenes of our lives.
Let us ponder on these comforting words of the Lord when we are tempted to envy the life of another or allow seeds of discontent to be sown in our hearts. Let us ponder on these words, rejoice in the Lord always, and be content in Him, for He has promised, “I will never leave you nor will I forsake you.”
What does Hebrews 13:5 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]
This chapter lists particular points on which the writer wants to encourage proper Christian behavior. These have included brotherly love (Hebrews 13:1), hospitality (Hebrews 13:2), support for the abused and imprisoned (Hebrews 13:3), and an emphasis on sexual morality (Hebrews 13:4). Other places in the New Testament echo the importance of avoiding sexual sin, given its allure and power (Romans 1:24–27). The consequences of immorality, often, are simply the natural consequences of those risky behaviors.
Here, the writer mentions another common theme of biblical morality: the danger of greed. The phrase “money is the root of all evil” is not actually biblical, since wealth can be properly used and enjoyed without sin (Romans 14:14). What the Bible does say, in 1 Timothy 6:10, is that “the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils.” That verse notes that unhealthy desire for wealth has led to the ruin of many lives.
Unhealthy obsession with money is closely related to discontent. This is something the Bible implies using words such as “covet” (Exodus 20:17; James 4:2) and “jealousy” (James 3:16). Rather than being unhappy over what we do not have, Christians ought to be thankful for what we do have and hopeful for what we will one day obtain (Hebrews 11:14–16).
A foundation of this trusting, content, forward-looking perspective is the believer’s relationship with Christ (Hebrews 12:2). The phrasing here might be a reference to God’s promise to Joshua (Deuteronomy 31:6; Joshua 1:5). The following verse will amplify this trust by quoting specific Psalms which proclaim the security we have in God.
Hebrews 13:1–6 contains practical, real-world instructions for Christian believers. These mirror some of the more common themes in the New Testament. Brotherly love, hospitality, care for the abused, sexual morality, and contentment are all commended. The writer ties the ability to be content, and faithful, to our trust in Christ to be there with us, and for us, in all of our circumstances. This grounding is strengthened in the following passage.
Chapters 1—9 explained how the new covenant in Jesus Christ is superior to the old covenant of animal sacrifices. This comparison drew on extensive use of Old Testament Scripture. Chapters 10––12 applied that evidence to encourage Christians to ”hold fast” despite persecution. The summary of these applications was that believers ought to trust in their faith, and choose to obey God, during times of struggle. Chapter 13 adds a few specific reminders about Christian conduct. This passage also reiterates the idea that Christ is meant to be our ultimate example. The letter concludes with a request for prayer and words of blessing.