Below is a new devotion I just left on the Cove Presbyterian Church prayer line. You can find a recording of this devotion on the prayer line (1-304-748-7900) or on the Cove Presbyterian Church Podbean page.
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1 Timothy 6:6-16
Of course, there is great gain in godliness combined with contentment; for we brought nothing into the world, so that we can take nothing out of it; but if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these. But those who want to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains.
But as for you, man of God, shun all this; pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of the eternal life, to which you were called and for which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. In the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you to keep the commandment without spot or blame until the manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ, which he will bring about at the right time-he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords. It is he alone who has immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see; to him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.
The Problem with Money
I remember, some time years ago, I was having a discussion about this passage with a friend of mine, a man who was fairly successful in business and who believed that you could use personally wealth to determine many traits about a person, you know like work ethic and common sense and even spirituality. And as I recall, he said something like, “See, Paul never said money was evil. He just said that the love of money was the root of all evil.” And of course, when he said it, I recognized that he was right, which I’m sure reenforced everything he believed about the value of money to determine character.
And over the years, I still believe he was right, at least in what he said about this verse. You see, I believe money is actually morally neutral. By it’s nature, it’s neither good nor bad. Rather, morality enters the picture when you consider both how it’s used and what it might cause people to do. And it’s this latter issue that I think concerns Paul here. You see, money or maybe better, the desire to possess more of it than we’ll ever need, well, that can really distract us from living the kind of life we’ve been called to live. I mean, if acquisition of wealth is my motivation, it might lead me to make compromises when it comes to things like righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness. And for that reason, even though it’s not evil in and of itself, money can become a distraction, and if it does, then, at least for us, money has become a real problem.