Dr. G. Curtis Jones (1912-1999) shares the following: “In his penetrating book, For the Love of Money, psychiatrist James Knight told of a visit to Bergen, Norway. The guide spoke of a family that lived on the top of a mountain. The altitude and terrain were such that it was very difficult to reach the summit, even with horses. It required two hours to walk to their home. There were no modern conveniences. The family raised or made practically everything they needed. The mother had learned to knit while walking up and down the hill. An American tourist made bold to ask: ‘Does it pay to live here and put up with all of this?’ Without a moment’s hesitation, the kind lady replied, ‘Life itself is pay enough.’”[i]
1 Timothy 6:10 reads, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”
Notice the progression of our text.
I. First, there is an unbridled desire. 1 Timothy 6:10a reads, “For the love of money is a root of allkinds of evil. . .” 1 Timothy 6:3-5 reads, “If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself.”
David Brian Croudace, missionary to Zambia, Africa, writes, “There is a dangerous doctrine about: if you want to get rich, you should come to Christ. This ‘prosperity gospel’ is not the gospel at all. To turn to Christ, motivated by the sin of avarice? Never! Verse 10 says that the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. It is not the passage to heaven. If you have been misled by such a false gospel, repent of your lust for money and in brokenness and confession, cry out to the Saviour in faith. He will save you and give you true riches which are unseen and eternal.”[ii] Johnson Oatman (1856-1922) exhorts, “Count your many blessings, money cannot buy / Your reward in heaven, nor your home on high.”
1 Timothy 6:6-8 reads, “Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.” Hebrews 13:4-6 reads, “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we may boldly say: ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?’”
Dr. Michael Guido (1915-2009) had the following in his files: “A Christian had been an executive vice-president of a prosperous and growing concern; now he was with a different company as an ordinary salesman. When questioned about the change he answered very simply that he had been asked to do things that were inconsistent with his Christian witness, and rather than do them, he left. ‘Wasn’t this quite a sacrifice?’ Smiling he replied, ‘Yes, in a way. But you know I have learned something. ‘Some little lesson no doubt?’ ‘No,’ he said, ‘I’ve learned that godliness with contentment is great gain.”[iii]
Dr. Tony Lambert, pastor of Riverside Church in Denver, Colorado, recently stated, “If Moses had not left the prosperity of Egypt he would have never known the presence of God.” Hebrews 11:24-26 reads, “By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward.”
Sydney J. Harris (1917-1986) writes, “The more you have to live for, the less you need to live on. Those who make acquisition their goal never have enough.”[iv] 1 Timothy 6:9 reads, “But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.”
Dr. Lawrence O. Richards writes, “The common misquote of this verse says, ‘Money is the root of all evil.’ This is a double misunderstanding. Money isn’t bad in itself, and having money doesn’t automatically make you a bad person. And, every evil does not find its roots in money. Much good is done by money given by Christians and used to help others.
What Paul warned against is a love for money, for that passion for wealth can motivate a person to any and every sort of evil deed. Love for money can lead a person to lie, to defraud others, to betray friends, to steal, cheat, slander, and murder. A person whose goal is to get rich is sure to be betrayed by that passion.
If riches come, it’s all right to welcome them. But it is a ‘temptation and a trap’ to desire them.”[v]
II. Second, there is an unauthorized detour. 1 Timothy 6:10b reads, “. . . for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness. . .” How many times in the Bible do we find people who have strayed from the faith? Dr. Vance Havner (1901-1986) points out the following who made detours: Abraham, Lot, Jacob, Jonah, and Peter. Since Lot’s detour is based on the love of money, let me share the following from Dr. Havner about Lot: “He beheld the plain of Jordan, pitched his tent toward Sodom. What if he did sit at the gate and rise in the world? He lost his influence and his family, had to flee from the accursed city, and died in shame. He never really got going on the highway again. It was a sad and costly detour. . . . ‘The detour is always rougher the main road.’” Havner further explains, “We take the detour as motorists because we have to. As Christians we take it because we want to.”[vi] Are you on an unauthorized detour?
Part Two Coming Soon!
[i]G. Curtis Jones, 1000 Illustrations for Preaching and Teaching “All You Need” (Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1986), 264. All Rights Reserved. Database © 2006 WORDsearch Corp.
[ii]Guido Gardens Library, 1 Timothy, #250.pdf http://library.guidogardens.com/redir.asp?sessionid=IsDwh25nI18nhoti8lt3px3uV&login=yes
[iii]Guido Gardens Library, 1 Timothy, #249.pdf http://library.guidogardens.com/redir.asp?sessionid=IsDwh25nI18nhoti8lt3px3uV&login=yes
[iv]Jeff Carroll, 6,000 Plus Illustrations for Communicating Biblical Truths Portions. Database © 2012 WORDsearch Corp.
[v]Lawrence O. Richards, The 365-Day Devotional Commentary. (Wheaton, IL: SP Publications, Inc., 1990), 104.
[vi]Vance Havner, By The Way: Meditations of a Christian Pilgrim (Westwood, NJ: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1950), 11-13.