Friday, August 19, 2016

Two evils the love of money brings

Michael Kelley is right in saying that 1 Timothy 6:10 is one of the best known and most misunderstood passages in Scripture.

There, the apostle Paul writes to the young pastor, Timothy:
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.
Paul doesn't say that money is intrinsically bad. He does say that the love of money--making the acquisition of more of it or the hoarding of it (I said hoarding, not saving)--major objects of our lives leads to all kinds evil and grief.

But how so?

Kelley identifies two evils into which the love of money can lead us, ways that he says we might otherwise overlook:

1. The love of money "can lead me to wander from my faith." Kelley writes chillingly:
I can’t be both greedy and content. I can’t worship both God and money. So if I choose money, I’m eventually guaranteed a departure from the faith.
2. Love for money "causes lots of pain points in my life." He enumerates a few:
...worry, remorse, discontentment, debt, and anxiety … the list goes on and on. The passionate pursuit of money promises liberty but only brings captivity.
I think he's right.

Thirty years ago, a friend of mine went to work for a man who had been a pioneer in the dot com world and raked in tens of millions of dollars as a result. One day, he told my friend wistfully, "You know, ten years ago, all I could think was that I would be happy and secure once I'd made my first million. Now, all I do is worry about how to keep the millions I have." Not long after that, he died suddenly, unexpectedly,...and unhappily.

There's nothing wrong with money. And God gifts some people with both the ability to handle money and to use it in ways that honor Him and show love to others. (To this latter point, in fact, Ephesians 4:28 says that a major reason for Christians to work is so that they'll have something to share with those in need.)

But money can become a god, an object of religious worship by which we measure our worthiness and value and by which we think that we can become gods ourselves, manipulating life to our own liking.

It's then that evil--things like selfishness, worry, and blindness to the needs or virtues of others--flood into our lives, taking us far from the God revealed to the world in Christ and from the life that only Christ can give.

Read all of Kelley's short piece.

[Photo from DataCapSystems.]

[Blogger Mark Daniels is pastor of Living Water Lutheran Church in Centerville, Ohio.]

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