The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. . . . Flee from all this, and pursue righteousness. 1 Timothy 6:10–11
One evening years ago, my wife and I were making our way down a mountain trail, accompanied by two friends. The trail was narrow and wound around a slope with a steep drop on one side and an unclimbable bank on the other.
As we came around a bend, I saw a large bear moseying along, swinging his head from side to side, and quietly huffing. We were downwind, and he hadn’t detected our presence, but he would soon.
Our friend began to rummage around in her jacket for a camera. “Oh, I must take a picture!” she said. I, being less comfortable with our odds, said, “No, we must get out of here.” So we backed up quietly until we were out of sight—and ran.
That’s how we should feel about the dangerous passion to get rich. There’s nothing wrong with money; it’s just a medium of exchange. But those who desire to get rich “fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction,” Paul wrote (1 Timothy 6:9). Wealth is only a goad to get more.
Instead, we should “pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness” (v. 11). These traits grow in us as we pursue them and ask God to form them within us. This is how we secure the deep satisfaction we seek in God.
What’s your passion in life? How might you pursue traits that will make you more like Jesus?
God, I want to grow to become more Christlike. Help me cooperate with what You’re trying to teach me.
In 1 Timothy 6:6–7, the apostle Paul states, “Godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.” His words are reminiscent of Job’s: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised” (Job 1:21). Yet these men differed in more than the suffering they endured, for Paul knew why he suffered whereas Job didn’t. Paul was “fight[ing] the good fight of the faith” (1 Timothy 6:12), and he understood that trials and persecution often accompanied this spiritual battle. As 2 Corinthians 11 details, Paul’s life as an apostle included beatings, stoning, prison, hunger, thirst, and more. Yet Paul had “learned to be content whatever the circumstances . . . through him who [gave him] strength” (Philippians 4:11–13).