Tuesday, October 24, 2006

"Spirit" -> The Love Of Money

I Timothy 6:6-10,

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 People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men 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.

17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.

As I am reading my way through the Bible this year, I am just making it through this section in Timothy, and it really grabbed me. As I've already posted before, for practical purposes, everybody that has a computer and that can read this blog is rich. Generally, anybody in the USA is far better off than most of the world's population that has gone before.

Look at what Paul tells Timothy, and thereby us, to do:

a. Be content. Even though I've started to touch on the hedonistic treadmill, I don't feel that I've fully explored the depth of our uncontent. This is worth another posting of its own for a later date.

b. If you have clothes and food be happy with that. (Note: he didn't say a camel, house, or automobile.)

c. If you want to get rich you have fallen into a temptation. Note, he did not say "could fall" but have fallen. This point alone will distinguish us from those around us. Let us be clear, we are called to "not wanting to be rich." Now, if you happen to become rich, and yet didn't want it, then this is okay. (Impossible you say?) Just this section of scripture would indicate that we should not play the lotto. For why do we want to play the lotto? Well to get rich. Unfortunately, Paul tells us that this is wrong for Christians.

d. Paul recognizes that there are rich among us. He does not say "give up your riches" or "become a pauper." Paul doesn't even question how they became rich. While he does not condemn these already rich people, he does appeals to them to be generous because it is an investment. Paul is so bold to claim that this is "laying up treasures."

Paul's brilliance is the ability to translate from culture to culture. If you have wealth, the one thing that you always are looking for is an investment. Investing simply means to put in money to get a return. Paul knows that the best way of bridging the gap to a rich person is to call out the gift as an investment.

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