WHAT ENSLAVES YOU?
Thank you God, for your many provisions for me. Help me to always keep in mind what are your greatest and most important gifts.
Read 1 TIMOTHY 6:1-10
6 All who are under the yoke of slavery should consider their masters worthy of full respect, so that God’s name and our teaching may not be slandered. 2 Those who have believing masters should not show them disrespect just because they are fellow believers. Instead, they should serve them even better because their masters are dear to them as fellow believers and are devoted to the welfare[a] of their slaves.
False Teachers and the Love of Money
These are the things you are to teach and insist on. 3 If anyone teaches otherwise and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, 4 they are conceited and understand nothing. They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions 5 and constant friction between people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.
6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 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.
- 1 Timothy 6:2 Or and benefit from the service
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
May our hearts break today with the things that break the Lord’s heart.
Verses 6–10 are a strong indictment of modern Western culture. There has never been a time of so much wealth in the world. At the time of writing, the richest 1 percent of people own 43 percent of the world’s wealth but 9 percent (690 million people) will go to bed tonight hungry.1 These shocking statistics show how things have gone wrong. There are sufficient resources in the world for us all, but the rich get richer while the poor continue to suffer. Paul says, ‘the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil’ (v 10). It is too simplistic to attribute world poverty to a minority’s desire for wealth, yet our cravings for more for ourselves can lead to less for others.
Verse 10 is often misquoted, omitting ‘the love of,’ and consequently wealth is viewed as evil. Paul is not opposed to wealth but is highlighting the battle between contentment and covetousness. Anything that we covet has the danger of becoming an idol to us. To many, the idol is money, but ‘the love of’ anything that takes our gaze away from Christ must be guarded against. How is this battle between covetousness and contentment going for you? I’ve sat both at banquet tables with the wealthy and in slum gutters with the destitute and have often observed a more genuine contentment in the gutter. Nevertheless, the church is called to help people out of the gutter. Paul is saying that there is a different way that the church should model. Luther famously wrote, ‘I have held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God’s hands, that I still possess.’2 May we be granted the wisdom to know what to hold loosely and what to tighten our grip on.
Look for those things that take our gaze off the Lord and pray for the courage to look away.
I confess, Father, that I sometimes confuse the difference between what I want and what I need. Give me a wise and generous heart as I relate to all that you give me.
1 https://inequality.org/facts/global-inequality 2 Ray Comfort, Luther Gold, Bridge-Logos (US), 2009, p50
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.
© 2023 Scripture Union U.S.A. All rights reserved. Reproduction of the whole or any part of the contents without written permission is prohibited.
Encounter with God is published in the USA under license from Scripture Union England and Wales, Trinity House, Opal Court, Opal Drive, Fox Milne, Milton Keynes, MK15 0DF.