“men of corrupt mind.. who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.
but godliness with contentment is great gain. for we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. but if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. people who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction.
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 6:5-10
After reading this passage, I was struck by how easy it is to turn to material comforts when work is difficult and tiring. How do I respond when I work overtime, and on weekends, and forgo sleep?
It’s easy to 比下 and point a finger at others and say “well I don’t own a whole rack of Prada shoes” or “I’m not some money-minded person, okay??“, but if your response to stress and adversity is to find happiness and comfort in a new shirt, or a nice meal, or a beautiful pair of footwear, or anything else that numbs you to the slog and pain of work, it’s only a matter of time before you bump up your spending to chase a new high, or get obsessed with work to preserve your current expenditure.
But I hesitated. Because telling an addict (and who isn’t addicted to something – we all have masters, be it money or God) to quit isn’t enough if you don’t give that addict something new to cling on to. All the preaching in the world will not help you when you are alone in office on a Saturday night, struggling.
Paul goes on to say this at verse 11:
“flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.”
And that’s a huge basket of words, but consider this: it’s really hard to be righteous, or faithful, or loving, or gentle, if you don’t have someone to exhibit those qualities to. We are not called to shrink into deprived ascetics. We are called to labor, to profit, and to give.
“Command those who are rich in the present world.. to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share… so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.” – 1 Timothy 6:18-19
This is the antidote to self-absorption and empty hoarding. Freely you have received; now, freely give.