Wednesday, November 02, 2011

A Bible Passage that Provides Help to Those Who Struggle with the Desire to Be Rich

(6). But godliness with contentment is great gain.

(7). For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 

(8). And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.

(9). But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. 

(10). For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows

(I Timothy 6:6-10)

I. There is a problem with money that the Apostle clearly defines . . . "they that will be rich" (v.9).

The problem is not those that are rich, but those that "covet" riches or grasp after wealth.

John Gill says of this verse, "Some rich men are good men, and do much good with their riches; and are as free from temptations and snares, and foolish and hurtful lusts as other persons as Abraham, Joseph of Arimathea, Gaus, and others. 

(A). The desire to be rich leads to temptation . . . "they fall into temptation" (v.9)

To "fall" into temptation is different from "jumping" into it. The desire to be rich gradually and imperceptably changes character and conduct. .

(B). The desire to be rich leads to a trap . . ."they fall into a snare"  (v.9)

The Apostle calls it a "snare" and he uses the same word in I Timothy 3:7 when he speaks of "the snare of the devil."  Your enemy sets a trap in order to catch you. It may be a trap where you have to choose between family and riches. 

(C). The desire to be rich leads to trouble. . . "they fall into hurtful lusts"  (v.9).

You can't blame all your problems on the devil. If you seek to be wealthy, there are "many foolish and hurtful lusts" which will sink you. Over time your lusts for more will lead you into greater trouble.  The desire for wealth is never fully satisfied within you.  Greed, if not corrected will ruin you, and  it will ultimately destroy you ("perdition" speaks of judgment).

II. The are specific pains that come from the love of money that the Apostle vividly describes. . . "they pierced themselves through with many sorrows" (v.10).

Paul gives to Timothy a warning using graphic language of an arrow or a spear piercing the body. In our day, the words of Paul might have been, "Timothy, those who love money shoot themselves in the foot." What are some of the arrows of sorrows that bring pain to the person who is constantly craving after riches or money? In his excellent book The Upside Down Kingdom, Donald Kraybill, offers some insight into the hurts we bring.

The arrow called "STRANGLER" . . . (Luke 8:14).
In the parable of the sower, Jesus says people who hear the word of God, but are caught up in a desire for riches are like seeds thrown onto thorny ground -- "they are choked by the cares, riches and pleasures of life." Do you want your spiritual life strangled? The love of money chokes out the vitality of your spiritual life. Greed is a silent killer, and will destroy you. 

The arrow called "WORRIER" . . . (Luke 12:29-34).
Jesus said, "Do not be of anxious mind (about material things) . . . but provide for yourselves treasure in the heavens (relationships) where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." Jesus understood that wealth brings anxiety in that the yesterdays bring regrets and the tomorrows bring worry.

The arrow called "BLINDER" . . . (Luke 16:19-23).
In the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, we see "There was a certain rich man who fared well . . . but died and was buried. And in hell he lifted up his eyes . . ." Riches have a way of blinding a person to the really important things of life. Greed will blind you like the rich man was blinded. The love of money will cause you to miss what should truly be loved in life. 

The arrow called "CONSOLER" . . . (Luke 6:24).
Jesus said, "Woe to you who are rich (spent your loved with the craving to accumulate riches), you have received your consolation" Whereas the righteous will receive their comfort after death, the only comfort the greedy obtain is that which they have in life.

III. There is a principle about money that is delivered by the Apostle Paul which will keep you from falling into traps and pain  . . . "godliness with contentment is great gain" (v.6).

The word contentment is the word "self-sufficiency." It implies by Paul that "the person in relationship with Christ is a person that should be independent of outward circumstances, enabling him to maintain a spiritual equilibrium in the midst of both favorable circumstances and those which are adverse" Kenneth Wuest.

 How is this possible? How is it possible to not crave after riches? The ability to have contentment in this life is possible when you understand the teaching of verse 7.

"For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out" (v.7).

The phrase "it is certain" (hoti) is better translated "because."

So that what Paul is saying is "we brought nothing into this world, because we can carry nothing out."

Nothing this world gives you adds to your value as a person eternally. No amount of money or the leisure, prestige, fame and power that money brings adds one thing to who you ultimately are as a person. You brought nothing into this world because God is reminding you that you will take nothing out of this world.  What you leave this life with is a relationship with your Creator and other people.

That's all you take with you.

That's why we should never desire to be rich in anything other than personal relationships.


    Bob Cleveland said...

    Good post. The scripture is abundantly clear. Even if you do good things with some of the money you chased after, that doesn't make deliberately willing yourself to have money, to pursue it, a good thing.

    Then there's also the promise that all the other things will be added to us if we seek first His Kingdom. And God's better at knowing what will bless us eternally, than we are. By a LONG way.

    Christiane said...

    I don't think most Americans these days want to 'be rich'
    . . . unless that means being able to send your children to college, to have adequate medical care, and to live decently as any human person hopes to live with dignity through out the course of their adult lives.

    But that dream, for many in our country, is no longer possible;
    nor are they the ones responsible for its loss.

    Anonymous said...

    I desire to be rich and I'm sure Obama will hear me and take care of it. He seems to be doing well for some.....