Truly Life: Part 1
Stop right here. What does this word mean to you? Not the Sunday school answer of “Jesus!”, but what do your actions say you believe about this word? Before reading on, take a moment to feel the emotions that this simple, five-letter word conjure inside of you.
There are many scriptures that address the issue of money. Each verse could in and of itself be a sermon series. Each word is rich with teaching and application. But considering our time, let’s park it in 1 Timothy 6:6-20.
“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” (1 Timothy 6:6-7, 10)
When I was younger I would read this verse to mean that money is the root of all kinds of evil. Nope. It’s just one of them (I’m not sure if I should be encouraged that there are other roots…). I also thought Paul was talking about other people, rich people. Wrong again. I am that rich person. You are that rich person. Dare I say, for those of us who live in a first world country, we are all those rich people and fight the temptation to want more money, more possessions and more luxuries no matter how rich we are, how rich we think we are or how rich we think we are not? Do you get the message that when Paul addresses the rich, we can insert our own name? I just want to make sure we have established that this scripture is not for that person down the street who you have deemed rich. It applies to us all.
We can all agree that the love of money is wrong, and there are many reasons for this. We can explore those reasons another time. Today, let’s look at solutions: how do we practically deal with the allurement towards money? Good thing Paul continues on in this letter.
- Flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. (v 11) It’s more about what we are chasing than what we are avoiding.
- Fight the good fight. (v 12) Every day, every temptation, every choice is a battle. We approach our spending differently when we remember that there is a spiritual battle underlying the cover of money.
- Take hold of eternal life. (v 12) The best is yet to come. Let’s not get caught up in things that will vanish.
- Keep this command without spot or blame. (v 14) Seek absolute purity in all things. Be above reproach.
- Acknowledge God. God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen. (v 15-16) I love how right in the middle of these commands Paul cannot help but stop and praise God. Standing in awe of our Giver focuses our perspective rather quickly.
- Put your hope in God. (v 17) No matter how much or how little we have, our hope is in the One who provides everything for our enjoyment.
- Do good, and be rich in good deeds. (v 18). Do nice things to others and for others.
- Be generous and willing to share. (v 18). Whether we believe it or not, all this stuff isn’t ours anyway! We would do well to experience a little more communal living.
I’m going to pause here and give you some time to simmer on these commands. Let’s meet back again next week and talk a bit more. Same time. Same place.