Breakfast WIth Jesus: 1 TIMOTHY 6:10

For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs

Don’t love money, use it. Be generous with it. There are three kinds of principles on money: Income, Management, Giving. All three of these groups of principles are needed to have a healthy relationship with money. 

The Scripture is totally correct – too strong of an emotional connection to money is the root of all sorts of evil and has destroyed many lives. Having money or not having money is not the issue. It is your emotional relationship with it that tells the tale. 

It is important to realize that the Scripture says don’t love money or treat it like a God that will grant all your wishes (Matthew 6:19-24). But it does not say don’t think about it; don’t understand how it works; don’t have any; don’t use money for righteous purposes. It just says don’t love it. Unfortunately Christians have misused this verse to mean all these things and have caused themselves to diminish the work of God. Many Christians have interpreted “don’t love money” as stay away from money altogether; don’t understand how money works or how to make lots of it; remain ignorant about money; give money away or spend it as soon as you can lest it corrupt you. This verse cannot be interpreted in this way or it denies all of the other verses about money throughout the Bible.

Unfortunately many Christians have allowed themselves to be completely ignorant about money and how it works so that they are victims or slaves of money instead of righteous stewards of that arena of life. There is a righteous or God- honoring way of handling money and it includes not loving it. But that does not mean that that arena should be ignored.

The righteous way of handling money seems to be to have enough to do whatever God wants you to do but to not let it dominate your thinking either by having too little or by hoarding too much (Proverbs 30:5,6). If you have money that makes you enough money so that you are freed up to serve God wherever and whenever he wants, then you are free. At times God calls people to the opposite money position also: giving away all of your money so that you serve wherever he wants you to go. The end game is the same 

You have a relationship with money. The question is whether it is a biblical one or an unhealthy one. It is possible to exalt money to be a god in your life. This is where every decision is evaluated based upon its impact on your god. Would money be pleased with this decision or would money be offended by your decision? In order to live an abundant life, you are at times going to have to offend money by using it in ways that serve other relationships. Money will have to become subservient to the other relationships. 

When the apostle, writing under the anointing of the Holy Spirit, penned these words, he does not mean that you and I cannot have money or that there is anything wrong with money. Money is, however, a very powerful thing. So powerful, in fact, that it is the only thing that everyone has a relationship with. If you are not careful, you will make it your god. You do not want to be locked in an unhealthy relationship with money. The goal of a Christian understanding of money is to have it in abundance so that one can be generous with it. Reduce its hold on your life so that you can freely share with others. Some are able to make lots of it. It just seems to flow to them. Great, use it for good. Others don’t have much of it. We have an accurate relationship with money when we see it as a tool rather than a lover. 

It is God who should be checked with to see if a decision is right and pleasing. It is God who we are trying to get to applaud. It is He that will bring a blessing in our lives, not money. It is He who will be grieved if we walk away from an opportunity He is giving us because we are elevating another relationship above the one with Him. 

The very next verse says Don’t pursue money but you, man of God, pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance, and meekness. Each of these are worthy pursuits because they will yield the maximum blessings. 

The verse before this one really tells us what loving money means. Verse 9 reads But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. Those whose whole lives are focused on longing after money find themselves following after many selfish and destructive impulses, and they will suffer because of it. The right perspective about money is to see it as a tool to focus on meeting the real needs of people and then the right amount of money will flow towards you. What are you doing to alleviate the suffering, meet the needs, and connect the people? This is what life is all about. Remember that if you set up money to be your God in that you serve it and do what it says so that you will have more of it, then it will eventually ask you to violate your moral boundaries. 

It is not wrong to think about money or have money. In fact, it is essential to have money to do many good things. But one cannot set it up as the love of one’s life or one’s god.

Let me speak to the issue of wealth for a minute. Does every rich person need to get rid of all their wealth to be a truly good Christian? NO. The New Testament does not hold out the example of the rich young ruler as the example for all rich people. There are wealthy people throughout Scripture that God was very close to: Abraham, David, Job, Cornelius, etc. God is not against wealth. He is against an unhealthy focus upon it as the savior of your life. He is your Savior, not money. 

I am concerned that our culture has forgotten all the biblical injunctions against loving money. We are running headlong after it. Whatever will allow us to collect it is good even if it does despicable things to others. Whatever allows us to hang on to it is essential. We are making a god of money and worshiping at its shrines. God will destroy these idols and prove that they were not gods.

*  This material is copyrighted © by Gil Stieglitz who retains all rights to the material.   The verses quoted are taken from the NASB Bible 1995 edition. 

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