Today’s first reading stuck out to me the most. It is from 1 Timothy 6: 2C-12:
Beloved: Teach and urge these things. Whoever teaches something different and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the religious teaching is conceited, understanding nothing, and has a morbid disposition for arguments and verbal disputes. From these come envy, rivalry, insults, evil suspicions, and mutual friction among people with corrupted minds, who are deprived of the truth, supposing religion to be a means of gain. Indeed, religion with contentment is a great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, just as we shall not be able to take anything out of it. If we have food and clothing, we shall be content with that. Those who want to be rich are falling into temptation and into a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires, which plunge them into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all evils, and some people in their desire for it have strayed from the faith and have pierced themselves with many pains.
But you, man of God, avoid all this. Instead, pursue righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience, and gentleness. Compete well for the faith. Lay hold of eternal life, to which you were called when you made the noble confession in the presence of many witnesses.
This reading really speaks for itself. What a great, well-written reminder of how we are to act as Christians. Take a second to reflect on the verse, “For we brought nothing into the world, just as we shall not be able to take anything out of it.” How true is that? How often to we forget that? I know I forget it all the time.
Nothing is our own. Everything we have belongs to God. Initially when thinking about this concept, it can seem a little scary. What a test for our humility! “You mean my belongings aren’t really mine?” What about my car? My Macbook? My iPhone?”
Every gift that we have has been given to us by God (James 1:17) yet we cling to our possessions so tightly. We buy and hoard in excess because we fear that we would have these things provided to us in the future. We fail to trust that new and more perfect blessings will come along. we convince ourselves that our possessions are owed to us. We believe we deserve to have nice things, or at least the equivalent of what our friends and neighbors have.
But Christ tells us through His Word, “If we have food and clothing, we shall be content with that.” The only things we really need are the basic necessities of living; beyond that we are abundantly rich as we are not merely surviving, but we are thriving beyond what we actually need to sustain our lives.
Yet we, as sinners, especially as Americans, are constantly after new things. We strive to have the best and coolest possessions and experiences. We become consumed with all of the things we want to buy, services we want to experience, luxuries we desire. While these are all good things, the obsession and love of them is what gets us into trouble. “For the love of money is the root of all evils.”
Money in an of itself is not bad. It is an enormous blessing that brings joy to our lives and the lives of others. In fact, we are told in 1 Timothy 5:8 that, “Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”
What are we to do? How do we find a balance between working for money and loving it? Following the warning, today’s reading also offers us a solution. “But you…avoid all this. Instead, pursue righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience and gentleness.” Instead of focusing our energy in fighting our love for money, we can attack those desires by focusing our energy in growing our holiness and in our walk with Christ. Instead of competing against your family, acquaintances or coworkers to earn the largest income, “complete well for the faith.”
When our faith is strong, our hearts are big, and we are striving to become the best version of ourselves each and every day, we gain strength and end up becoming more fulfilled than we would become any other way.