Friday, October 5, 2012

1 Timothy 6:9-10

Summary retelling of 1 Timothy 6:9-10

Paul tells Timothy that those who desire to be rich fall into temptation.  But not just temptation; they fall into a snare full of harmful behaviors that only serve to drag them down into ruin in addition to affecting the people around them, too!  The love of wealth is at the heart of a bunch of the evil that happens in this world.  In fact, Paul claims that it may be this craving for wealth that is the cause of a significant number of people who abandon their faith for senseless desire and pointless distress.

Thoughts for Today
First Thought:
Let’s talk about wealth in a dangerous sense.  By definition, wealth is in conflict with God.  I’m not saying that you can’t be wealthy and be with God.  But wealth inherently puts us in conflict with God.  Here’s why.  The more wealth I have, the more I believe in my ability to provide for myself.  The more I provide for myself, the less I need to rely on God.  The less I need to rely upon God, the less I need to remember God.  Thus, the more I have, the less I think I need God.  It’s no sin to have a lot of stuff.  But it is sin to let that stuff come between us and God.

Do you agree that wealth and the acquisition of stuff is inherently dangerous to virtually all of humanity?  Why do you think human beings are in love with our wealth and stuff?  How might this conversation be influenced by thinking about our true perspective on eternal life?

Second Thought:
Paul also reminds Timothy that people who pursue their own wealth don’t just drag them down but also drag the people around them.  Think about it.  The greedier the CEOs of a corporation are, the less money there is for the workers.  The more the CEOs try to maneuver around paying taxes, the more likely they put the company – and the jobs of all the employees – at risk.  The more churches desire to amass wealth into endowments the fewer resources are distributed to the people who need them.  (I do agree that churches do need to keep around a certain “percentage” for operating expenses, though.)  Every person who gets into credit card debt and has to declare bankruptcy causes prices to go up and the rest of the culture to suffer as the businesses and banks have to recoup their losses.  Every decision we make has an influence upon a host of other people.  How we handle our resources has an incredible amount of influence on the people around us.

Have you ever thought about how your money management (or possibly lack thereof) impacts the people around you?  Why is this an important lesson to teach the culture around us? Why does Paul want to make sure that Timothy understands this lesson as a leader in the Ephesian church?

Third Thought:
Paul ends verse 10 with a horribly true thought.  So many people abandon God and abandon their faith over issues that have to deal with wealth.  We get so busy with all of our stuff that we don’t have time for God. Perhaps we get so interested in keeping our stuff that we don’t want to share as God asks.  Perhaps we don’t agree with how other people might use our “communal wealth.”  Perhaps we are simply too interested in material wealth and our life of luxury in this world to even care about the eternal.  Whatever the reason, many people throughout the ages have abandoned God for the pursuit of wealth in this world.

Have you ever abandoned God for a time to pursue the stuff of this world?  How did you finally wake up to the error of your ways?  Do you think this is a threat to younger people or older people more?  Do you think human beings ever really eliminate our temptation to love wealth and materialism?

Passage for Tomorrow: 1 Timothy 6:11-12
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