Money woes, Contentment, Heart condition 1 Tim 6 continued

Whether you are a rich man fearing stock market woes, a homeless man fearing where you

Riches are always just over the next hill….

will get your next meal, a single mother fearing for the well being of your family, or even a minister fearing the waning generosity of your parishioners; we all have fears of the uncertainty of the future and of money.  All of these have the same root problem which because of the curse given to Adam, it is our lot in life to work hard to make a living.  It is supposed to be hard.  Why?  Because Adam wanted to go his own way and not live dependently upon His maker any more.  Thus the penalty was fit for the crime.  God said in essence, “Oh and I suppose you think that you can do it better?  Go ahead and try.”  God’s desire always was and still is for us to remain reliant upon him to provide for us as we enjoy His presence in our lives.  However, now it is much harder to work than it was for Adam in the Garden of Eden.  At that time God instituted “The Second Law of Thermodynamics” stating that from that point on everything in this universe must decay – go from order to disorder.  It will take a lot of effort to stem this natural tide of things as our money devalues, rusts and corrodes.  But God is still faithful and desires to work on our behalf if we let him because he operates above natural law.  He can stretch our meager earnings, like he increased the fish and the loaves for his glory.

But we do live in a fallen world and there are many aspects to the distribution of wealth in the world and particularly within our lives which we must consider: reward/responsibility, sin/punishment/the curse, ware/peace and natural disasters, culture/country politics, God’s mercy/grace/blessings and the right to withhold them.  We may be affected by all if not any one of these factors at any one time which complicates the equation.  Regardless, every socio-economic class of people still needs to care for their families and that brings up the question of how do we do that and still honor God.  In an evolutionary mentality, it is dog eat dog and the better dog dominates (selfish).  In communistic society everyone is required to look after the state that in turn should look after the populace (controlling).  The free enterprise model rewards those who has a better idea and to the winner goes the spoils at the expense of all others (selfish).  But in the body of believers as indicated by the book of Acts, they pooled their resources to meet people’s needs (God-honoring, selfless).

1 Tim 6 looks at both sides of the coin.  What are we living for?  Where is our focus?   If we live for finances, we will worry if we have enough; we are depending upon ourselves and not God to meet those needs.  We remove from His hand what he wants to teach us in this because he is God and ultimately determines who has and who does not have.  Paul learned the secret to contentment in Philippians 4.  It is God’s grace which we must rely on.

People who want to get rich- love money and thus they break the 10th Commandment of covetousness and will do whatever (legal or otherwise) to get it.  They are just like the rich young ruler in Mt 19:16-22.  Their first love is not God and so they are idol worshiping thus breaking two more commandments the first and second.  He thought he was so good, but when it boiled down to it, he neither loved God nor his neighbor thus breaking the two greatest commandments.  He walked away dejected realizing that his God is money.

“For where your treasure is there will be your heart also”.  “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,” 1Tim6:18,19   Loving God is shown by loving your neighbor.  By spending some of what we have here on others needs in God’s stead, we are truly investing in heaven (because that is where your heart is).

When our interests are on money we “wander” away (unintentional – it is a gradual thing, imperceptible at first) from the Lord to chase everything for our enjoyment (because that is where our heart is) never being content.  This is why Paul commands Timothy to “pursue, flee, fight, take hold of” Godliness (an act of intention and determination) in order to attain God’s heartbeat for the world thus we can enjoy what God gives us in the here and now with contentment and at the same time help others where it matters.

More to come,

Steve

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About strostrud

Missionary with New Tribes Mission since 1989
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