1 Timothy 6 Devotion Sharing

Submitted by James Chao, Gracepoint Berkeley

What illusions about money do people who want to get rich have?  How does eagerness for money cause a person to wander from the faith?
Money can give me a sense of false sense of security about my life. In practical life, money is so important, not only for basic things like food and shelter and even for more abstract things like convenience and options. The person with the money is going to be able to provide for his needs and protect himself better because money gives you access to more things. A good cushion in my bank account can make me feel like I have a lot more resources to throw against whatever unexpected troubles that might come my way. But what all of this makes me blind to is that fact there is so much of life that money cannot buy. A desire to get rich makes me only look at earth needs and earthly realities, and makes me forget the spiritual realities that are far more important and for which money can’t be of much help. The feeling of having money can make me feel secure in the world, but it can deaden my sense of spiritual need, my need to be rescued from my pride and lust and bitterness, my need to depend on God for daily spiritual sustenance, my need for meaningful relationships and for love. This is why the desire to get rich can be so dangerous, because it blinds me to my need for God, and if my mind is so well practice in looking to money for security, then slowly I would be deadened to my sense of needing God.
Another false illusion of money has to do with the false air of significance that it gives. In our world, so many things are measured in terms of dollars, and these dollar amounts even get applied to me as a person. As an employee my time is supposedly much less valuable than the CEO, whose time is more expensive and therefore more valuable. All this can give me false ideas about my value and worth as a person, as though having more money or the ability to produce more money makes me more or less important as a person. And the more I immerse myself in that kind of concerns and calculations about money, the more it can erode my sense of significance as God’s child and God’s ambassador in the world. Being God’s child means that regardless of how I perform or how messed up or how much I still struggle with sin, I am precious in God’s sight and I am of Jesus’ worth, because he was willing to purchase my soul with his blood. That is the glory and dignity I have his child far exceeds a dollar amount that people can put on me. And as a Christian, the things I do for God is of eternal worth and their true value cannot be known until I get to heaven. So, with all these things, money is not the proper measure at all, and being overly concerned about money whittles away my sense of being significant in God. This is why all the more important that I guard myself against the false illusions that money can give me but instead strive to keep my focus on the heavenly realities as that is where my true security and true significance lies.

Submitted by James Kim, Gracepoint Berkeley

1 Timothy 6:9-10
9People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. 10For 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.
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What happens to people who want to get rich?
They fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction.  They wander from the faith and pierce themselves with many griefs.
What does Apostle Paul say is the reason people who want to get rich fall in these ways?
The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.
What does money provide that would make people love it?
Somebody would love money because it seems to offer options. The more money somebody has, their options seem to increase. People want to be able to experience as much as they can in this life, and a lot of what they want to experience can be bought with money. People don’t want to be limited in terms of what they can potentially experience, and so the drive for more money increases.  It seems to satiate one’s greed for a little while.  But like every appetite, as you feed greed, it increases.
Money provides material goods and some experiences.  So the love of money would emerge from the belief that because of what money can provide, one would never be in need.  Money provides a false sense of security.
How would the love of money (or what money can provide) lead to wandering from the faith?
For a Christian, faith means deriving security out of the trust relationship that one has with God, being content with what God provides, and trusting that he will continue to provide as he sees fit.  A life of faith in God is a life of serving God as my master which I can do if I have security in my relationship with him.  Pursuing security through the attainment of more money takes away from faith from God, and putting “faith” in the false promises of money. Being in love with money means that I’m going to do what I can to gain more of it, “serving” money, if you will.  In Matthew 6:24, Jesus says, “No one can serve two masters. He will either hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.  You cannot serve both God and Money.” It’s a wandering because it starts with small steps toward gaining more money, serving money, taking steps away from God as the master and making wealth the “master”.
What are some foolish and harmful desires today that result from wanting to get rich?
Money is one of the main reasons people get divorced today.  I’ve seen families get torn apart as a result of inheritance conflicts.  I’ve known people who abandoned everything else to get more money, to try to “make it” in this world with regard to wealth.  That’s tragic.  I don’t think somebody in love with money can stop their relationships with others to cool or to distance.  Being created by God to thrive in a community, that’s a real tragic thing.  The love of money, wanting to get rich is ultimately focused on the self, and will necessarily push other people away.  I can’t want to get rich and yet want to share with others at the same time.  One takes away from the other.  It’s foolish because to get all the money that will satiate my greed (if such an amount exists), I’ll have pushed everyone away and be utterly alone.  It’s harmful because I will have abandoned all faith and trust in God to place it on money, which cannot provide what it falsely promises. It’s ultimately harmful, then, because in pursuing money, I will have turned away from the one who can usher me into eternal life. Money can’t do that.
What can I do to protect my heart from the love of money?
I can make sure that I put money in it’s proper place in my life.  Of course, as a Christian, I’m going to tithe.  That’s a given. But I need to have the right attitude as I do so, as it is an acknowledgement that all that I am and HAVE already belongs to God, and I’m a steward of what he has given me.  I need to reflect on my spending patterns.  If I’m consistently extravagant toward myself but tight toward other people, there’s a problem there.  I need to be transparent with how I spend my money. If there is spending that I’d feel uncomfortable with others knowing about, there’s a problem there.  I need to monitor how I feel when somebody asks to borrow money. I need to monitor how I feel when I know there’s somebody in need and God is prompting me to help them out. I need to monitor how I feel when the check comes out and I have an opportunity to demonstrate tangible love by treating the other to a meal.  I need to monitor how I feel when I see the numbers in my bank account, whether increasing or decreasing. If I’m feeling better or happier with increases, or if I’m feeling more worried and anxious with decreases, then that needs to be offered up in prayer.  I need to take opportunities to demonstrate practical trust in God with the offerings that we have (thanksgiving or mission or church plant offerings) and sacrificially give with prayer.  If I’m going to serve one master, I want to implement guardrails to ensure that one master is God.
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