This week, we wrapped up the "West Side Story" series with deeper study into the issues of greed that can be a trap in Promised Land living. We looked at the passage in 1 Timothy 6 that discusses the "love of money." The first thing to notice is that it does not say (as is often misquoted) that money is the root of all evil. For one, it is the love of money that is the problem. Money is a tool or a resource. We are not to love the creation, we love the creator. However, if we choose to hate money, we will always struggle to see our own needs met and never get to a place of helping meet the needs of others or to help expand the Kingdom. We should not shun money or fear its ability to corrupt us so much that we avoid it.
Instead, love God. You see, whatever you direct your love to, you will never get enough; you'll never be satisfied. Directing our lvoe toward money or power or anything other than God will always lead to an emptiness and unfulfilled desire. Instead, you should direct that love to God and be in a position of never being able to get enough of Him, and you will live a much more satisfied life. The passage also did not say that the love of money is the root of ALL evil (it is A root of all kind of evil). Sure, it is a top three for sure, but there are many other ways evil is birthed in our lives. We can’t think that avoiding money is a way to avoid evil and become holy.
Jesus talked about this as well in Matthew 6 and Luke 11. If we get our priorities out of whack and spend our lives in constant desire for more money, we lose much more important things. He warns us not to lay up for ourselves treasure where moth and rust destroy, but in heaven. Some have taken this to mean we can't have ANYTHING in this life, even to the extent of a savings account. Let's not get crazy here. We need to understand why He used the example of a moth and rust destroying. Maybe you have a fine suit hanging in your closet. The only way the moths destroy it is if it stays hung in your closet. If it is being used, or is in motion, the moths can't touch it. A machine that sits unused will have its gears rust and cause it to be ruined, but if the machine stays in motion, rust cannot destroy it. What Jesus is warning us against is collecting "stuff" and having it just lie around and serve no purpose.
Is it a sin to have a nice boat (provided you can truly afford it)? No. If you use it to invest in your family by spending time together and building memories and relationships, it is an asset and is serving a noble purpose. If it sits next to your house for years on end and collects dust and rust, it is wasted resource. Let's avoid that!
Since we found at least three places that warned us to be sure to not use our godliness for personal financial gain, that must be a real problem. If godliness only led to poverty, there would be no need for these kinds of warnings. The fact that we must be warned so many times seems to indicate that leading a godly life CAN lead to wealth. Promised Land living can lead to blessing flowing in your life. So, do not allow the stuff to become your focus. Remember where the stuff comes from. Remember that, even if you lost it all (or God asked you to give it all), you are still connected to the SOURCE of all good things.
Now, let's keep on taking territory in our hearts and in our lives!