For The Love Of Money | Part Two

III. Third, there is an unwanted destination.  1 Timothy 6:10c reads, “. . .  and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”

Dr. Andrew Telford (1895-1997) explains, “The love of money—the eager beaver desire to be rich has caused many to make shipwreck of their faith. It has led many into a life of spiritual apathy. It has caused a lot of Christians to shift their faith from God to gold. Striving to be rich has hurt and killed many a conscience. The desire for riches is said to lead many into ‘foolish and hurtful lusts.’ This burning appetite has caused many to make foolish investments that hurt the soul more than the bank account.  

Wealth can become a curse—when it influences us away from God, Ps. 62:10. When it inspires falsehood, Acts. 5:3. When it impels profiteering, Prov. 22:16. When it impairs God’s glory, Matt. 25:18. When it induces covetousness, Luke 12:15. When it incites pride, Prov. 18:11-12. When it inveigles us to betray Christ, Matt. 26:14-15.

Riches grasped after, caused the rich man to perish in Luke 16. It caused Ananias and Sapphira to lie to the Holy Ghost and end in death. Greed for money has ruined preachers and churches. A lot of ‘would be’ rich people have formed nonprofit corporations to take care of their greed for money. Don’t curse your soul with the pangs of discontent.”[1]

The sad story of the greed of Gehazi is recorded in 2 Kings 5:20-27, “But Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said, ‘Look, my master has spared Naaman this Syrian, while not receiving from his hands what he brought; but as the Lord lives, I will run after him and take something from him.’ So Gehazi pursued Naaman. When Naaman saw him running after him, he got down from the chariot to meet him, and said, ‘Is all well?’  And he said, “All is well. My master has sent me, saying, ‘Indeed, just now two young men of the sons of the prophets have come to me from the mountains of Ephraim. Please give them a talent of silver and two changes of garments.’’ So Naaman said, ‘Please, take two talents.’ And he urged him, and bound two talents of silver in two bags, with two changes of garments, and handed them to two of his servants; and they carried them on ahead of him. When he came to the citadel, he took them from their hand, and stored them away in the house; then he let the men go, and they departed. Now he went in and stood before his master. Elisha said to him, ‘Where did you go, Gehazi?’ And he said, ‘Your servant did not go anywhere.’ Then he said to him, ‘Did not my heart go with you when the man turned back from his chariot to meet you? Is it time to receive money and to receive clothing, olive groves and vineyards, sheep and oxen, male and female servants? Therefore the leprosy of Naaman shall cling to you and your descendants forever.’ And he went out from his presence leprous, as white as snow.”   Dr. James Hastings (1852-1922) explains, “Gehazi is one of those men whom later ages have accepted as a type. His very name has come to be representative of a particular character. As Job stands with us for the innocent sufferer, Jacob for the man of shrewd bargains, Solomon for the sage, and Daniel for the righteous judge, so does Gehazi stand for the courteous liar. We might call him the Ananias of the Old Testament; and we might further note that his sin, like that of Ananias, was followed by a sudden and signal judgment.”[2]  Dr. Hastings further explains, “Gehazi is one of those Bible characters—Achan, Judas, Ananias, Demas, etc. —whose crimes and apostasy point the moral that the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.”[3]

1 Timothy 6:17-19 reads, “Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.”

Conclusion
Have you ever heard of philargyria?  It is a Greek word used in 1 Timothy 6:10a meaning “the love of silver” or “the love of money”[4].  Solomon warns in Ecclesiastes 5:10-15, “He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver; Nor he who loves abundance, with increase. This also is vanity.  When goods increase, They increase who eat them; So what profit have the owners Except to see them with their eyes?  The sleep of a laboring man is sweet, Whether he eats little or much; But the abundance of the rich will not permit him to sleep.  There is a severe evil which I have seen under the sun: Riches kept for their owner to his hurt. But those riches perish through misfortune; When he begets a son, there is nothing in his hand.  As he came from his mother’s womb, naked shall he return, To go as he came; And he shall take nothing from his labor Which he may carry away in his hand.”  Dr. David A. Hubbard explains, “When ‘love’ is directed toward God, spouse, or neighbor it is holy, wholesome, and rewarding.  When ‘silver’ Heb. keseph, see [Ecc.] 2:8; 7:12; 10:19; 12:6) is its target, it is sick, selfish, and especially frustrated, as ‘will not be satisfied’. . . promises.”[5]  B. J. Thomas used to sing about “loving things and using people only leads to misery.”

Luke describes the Pharisees as philargyros which means “lovers of money”[6].  Luke 16:14 reads, “Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, also heard all these things, and they derided Him.”  They derided Jesus for his teaching in the Parable of the Unjust Steward. Luke 16:1-13 reads, “He also said to His disciples: ‘There was a certain rich man who had a steward, and an accusation was brought to him that this man was wasting his goods.  So he called him and said to him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your stewardship, for you can no longer be steward.’ ‘Then the steward said within himself, ‘What shall I do? For my master is taking the stewardship away from me. I cannot dig; I am ashamed to beg. I have resolved what to do, that when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses.’ ‘So he called every one of his master’s debtors to him, and said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’  And he said, ‘A hundred measures of oil.’ So he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’ Then he said to another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ So he said, ‘A hundred measures of wheat.’ And he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write eighty.’ So the master commended the unjust steward because he had dealt shrewdly. For the sons of this world are more shrewd in their generation than the sons of light. ‘And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by unrighteous mammon, that when you fail, they may receive you into an everlasting home. He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much.  Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?  And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own? ‘No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.’”   George Beverly Shea used to sing, “I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold, I’d rather be His than have riches untold”.

Remember the prohibition against the love of money.  One of the qualifications for both pastors and deacons is that they are “. . . not greedy for money. . .” (1 Timothy 3:3, 8).  Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, suggested the following to the exhausted leader: “Moreover you shall select from all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them to be rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens” (Exodus 18:21).    Exodus 20:17 reads, “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.”  Romans 7:7 reads, “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, ‘You shall not covet.’” Sad to say some churches are not even following the suggestion of Jethro.

Remember the prophecy about the love of money. 2 Timothy 3:2 reads, “For men will be . . .  lovers of money. . .”  2 Timothy 3:1-9 reads, “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith; but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was.”

Dr. Ken Trivette shares the following story: “On the night of November 16, 1930, Mrs. Henrietta Garret, a lonely 81 year old widow died in her home in Philadelphia, and, unwillingly, started the most fantastic case of inheritance litigation in history. She had failed to leave a will, or no will was found to her $17,000,000 estate; a mystery still unsolved. She had expertly handled her financial affairs since her husband’s death in 1895 and therefore many felt that she must have realized that without a will, her fortune would become involved in legal battles. Although, Mrs. Garret, at the time of her death, had only one known relative, a second cousin, and less than a dozen friends; attempts to prove relationship to her and claim a part of her estate was made by more than 26,000 persons from 47 states and 29 foreign countries, represented by more than 3,000 lawyers. In their efforts to obtain her estate, there were those that committed perjury, faked family records, changed their own names, altered data in Family Bibles and concocted absurd tales of illegitimacy. As result, 12 were confined, 10 received jail sentences, 2 committed suicide, and 3 were murdered.”  Thus illustrating what depths people will go for the love of money.

 

[1]Andrew Telford, How to Behave in the House of God: Bible Studies on the First Epistle of Timothy, 132.  Database © 2011 WORDsearch Corp.
[2]The Greater Men and Women of the Bible, ed. James Hastings “Gehazi” (New York, NY: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1914), 360.  Accessed: 07/11/16 https://bible.prayerrequest.com/6896-hastings-james-greater-men-and-women-of-the-bible-6-volume-set/364/ .
[3]James Hastings, A Dictionary of the Bible (New York, NY: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1911), 2:118.
[4]Dictionary of Paul and his Letters, eds., Gerald F. Hawthorne, Ralph P. Martin, assoc. ed., Daniel G. Reid “Love” (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Christian Fellowship of the U.S.A., 1993). Database © 2006 WORDsearch Corp.
[5]The Preacher’s Commentary Series, gen. ed., Lloyd J. Ogilvie, Ecclesiastes to Song of Solomon, David A. Hubbard (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2010) Ecc. 5:10-12.
[6]Dictionary of Paul and his Letters, eds., Gerald F. Hawthorne, Ralph P. Martin, assoc. ed., Daniel G. Reid “Love” (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Christian Fellowship of the U.S.A., 1993). Database © 2006 WORDsearch Corp.