1 Timothy 6:6-12 Wow, the money thing!! These verses are tough for those who have money and not Godliness. Paul actually rates Godliness above money. Go figure. I would have thought that having lots of money meant you were Godly…Guess not! The apparent success of the world is a very alluring thing and the desire to have more and be more is a constant drain for all of us, but especially for those who are wealthy. I probably won’t have to deal with these issues, so bear with me. Paul goes all the way back to birth to qualify the importance of money. He says in verse 7, “We have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either.” That is probably where those who really have the right perspective on life will shine. Money, position, and things will all be priorities, just not the top priority. Their life will not be make or break over how much more they have than their neighbor or other family members. They are content to just make it. Then verse 9 and 10 come into focus. Where does the desire to make more take us? In verse 9 Pauls says it takes those who want to be rich into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. Sounds like something I would like to have happen…..NOT!!!! I have enough temptations in my life without having to deal with the money thing. In verse 10 Paul says that the money is not the problem. Why? Because God uses money and position and power for His glory as well. It’s the “LOVE” of money that is the kicker. What is the love of money? To me, it’s when it changes who you are and how you look at things. It’s when it makes you look down on others (like you are God) and try to put judgment on their lack of wealth by your wealth. OUCH! It morphs into greed, jealousy, competition, and many other things that truly are not of God. I know a little about it from my years as a child and youth. My dad made a very good living and when I wanted something, I usually got it. That was the first mistake of my parents. You know its true. I got spoiled. When I went to college, I needed some identity so I pledged and joined a fraternity. Once again, money made that possible. I started thinking I was “somebody” and looked at others differently. Once again, money made that happen. Then my family lost their wealth…….You know what I did? I came to my senses and God became real to me again. Had they not lost their money it might not have happened. Here is my painful conclusion. I needed to lose my wealth to get true wealth. There’s that humble, need to follow Jesus thing again. It always crops up and cramps our style. Which brings to mind. If you’ve got wealth, what is your style? Usually what happens is you start thinking, “Why can’t those peasants ever get out of the valley” as you look down on them from your lofty mountaintop home. “There must be something wrong with them or they are lazy.” WRONG!! You are upside down and your mountain is on the bottom and their valley is on the top. At least, that’s what Scripture says, if you want to bring the Bible into it. And of course, I do. In verses 11 and 12 Paul clearly states to Timothy to flee from those things and pursue Godliness, faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness. Makes sense that the advice given here goes back to what Paul said in verse 6. Paul says, “Fight the GOOD fight of faith.” He doesn’t say, “fight the good fight of money.” If I had that perspective, I definitely wouldn’t have surrendered to the ministry. You see, over the years I have felt led to go to churches in California, Arkansas, Missouri, Alabama, and North Carolina. When I surrendered to the ministry I made a life commitment to go where He called and let the chips fall where they may. When I went to another church that called me to come I didn’t go there to change jobs, I went there to serve the Lord and to fight the good fight of faith. If I had gone for financial reasons, I would be wealthy now (money wise). But I didn’t…..and I’m not. Now we end up being the “ones in need” of our families and that’s ok too. Someone asked me what my retirement plans were for the days ahead and I just had to laugh. Retirement plans? Streets of gold and worshipping Jesus is my only retirement plans. I will serve until my last breath and then I will really have wealth untold. Would we love to have more money? NO. Would we like to have more money? Probably. But only so I could expand the ministry God has planned for my life to reach more people. I believe God has injected this into mine and Andra’s lives and if that means picking Godliness over money, then so be it. I don’t presume to be anybody big, but just somebody who loves God. I believe the Bible says that’s enough. If you have your roots in money, then those roots aren’t as gold plated as you think. They are connected to the wrong nourishment. But if you are firmly planted in Godliness, then you are more wealthy than you can understand and realize and that is what Paul calls “great gain.” For those of you Christians who have been “blessed” with great or pretty good wealth. Here is a word from God’s Word. The moment you think you are somebody because you have more money than others is the moment you become a nobody in the service of our Lord. By the way, attending and serving in a church doesn’t discount an impure heart. It only keeps the deception alive for another day and thus deceives others as well. Is that harsh? Only if you love money!!!
Pink Floyd had part of their song right in these lyrics:
Money it’s a crime, share it fairly but don’t take a slice of my pie
Money so they say, Is the root of all evil today
But if you ask for a rise it’s no surprise that they’re giving none away
The Pilgrimage continues…. David Warren