Jump Start # 3080
1 Timothy 6:10 “For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wondered away from the truth and pierced themselves with many griefs.”
Money—that’s a tough one for many Christians. Our world revolves around money. We work to have money. It takes money to survive. Things are costing more these days and money seems to be tight. We wonder how we will pay for kid’s college. We wonder if there will be enough when we retire. And, even in the spiritual kingdom of God, it takes money. It takes money to keep our church buildings efficient. It takes money to use social media. It takes money to print bulletins, purchase class material and even pay the preacher. Money is an important topic. I used to tuck in a lesson about money when I went on the road preaching. I found that many had never learned lessons on money other than giving. But in talking with people, it became apparent that the subject of money came up often and from our verse today it has the potential to wreck the path that we are on.
Let’s give some thoughts about money:
First, although everyone needs money, many do not know how to use money wisely. The statistics of the typical American family are shocking. The majority could not come up with $800 if there was an emergency. The air conditioner goes out. The dog is sick and needs to go to the vet. The car won’t start. Those things are life. They happen all the time. But without some emergency fund, most have to pull out the credit card and go into debt to cover those emergencies. But what too often happens is that while you are making the monthly payments for the last emergency, another emergency strikes. One of the kids gets sick. The roof leaks. You drop and break your cell phone. Now, the hole gets deeper and it will take longer to get out.
This is a common picture in many, many homes today. They just can’t get out of that financial hole. Learning how to budget, learning to stop impulsive spending, learning to say, “No,” learning to stick some away for an emergency are things that many have never been taught. There are wonderful books, podcasts and radio programs focused upon these things.
Why talk about these things in a spiritual blog? Because, not only does the love of money lead to problems, the lack of money does as well. Worry, fear, jealously, becoming bitter with one another are all the offspring of money woes. Money issues are near the top of the causes for divorce these days. Troubled hearts are hard to worship God when fear takes over.
Second, many preachers lead the way in being poor examples of stewardship in money. They know the word of God but they don’t know how to handle money. These things are kept secret and private. Some die leaving their families destitute, others are forced to preach late in life because they have to, not because they want to. I would encourage shepherds to sit down with your preacher and have a discussion about finances. Put into place some regular savings for him. Teach him how to be better with his money. This is not only wise, but it prevents future benevolent cases as adjustments are made.
Third, the subject of money is a Biblical topic. Notice how many times “rich” or “riches” is found in Luke. Run through the book of Proverbs with the lens of money or wealth and you will be amazed. For a long time we have stayed far away from this topic for fear of someone thinking that we have left the truth. And as a result, a money thirsty generation has grown up in a culture that is intoxicated and obsessed with money. Look at the young athletes who quit college to go pro. What is the drive? Money. Millions and millions are dangled before their young eyes. And, as our passage tells us, this thirst for money corrupts and many have traded in their faith for a fatter wallet.
Wealth isn’t wrong. Money isn’t bad. It’s not how much you have, it’s what has you. Many a poor man has been stricken with the love of money. The Biblical list of faithful, spiritual men of God that were wealthy is long and impressive. Money in the right hands sent apostles on long journeys with the Gospel. Money in the right hands has helped needy Christians, provided Bibles, supported preachers and done an eternity of good. Today the message flies across the planet and that is made possible because of generous brethren.
Fourth, part of the training and teaching of our young people is to get them to understand Biblical concepts that are different from the way culture views things. Success is defined differently from the world’s perspective and Heaven’s perspective. Our culture feeds selfishness. God wants us to have the heart of a servant. Our culture thrives on brand names, labels and worldly status. God wants us to be holy. Our culture wastes a ton of money on things that are not necessary. They are purchased to impress people they do not like. God wants us to impress people with our character and heart. One can be foolish with money or one can be wise with his money.
Money, it’s necessary here, but it won’t be over there. Money can do a lot of good here, or it can ruin us for there. Jesus was supported by wealthy women. Jesus made a coin appear when it was time to pay taxes. Jesus was sold or betrayed for a set amount of money. Jesus was buried in a rich man’s tomb. Money was all around Jesus, but it didn’t change him.
Money is around us, but has it changed us? Maybe it’s time we did more preaching and teaching on the subject of money. It might help a lot of us out.