Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 8, 1966
NUMBER 18, PAGE 11b-12

"The Love Of Money"

Leslie Diestelkamp

For our present-day affluent society we have some very dynamic truth in Paul's first letter to Timothy (see chapter 6:6-12). The message is sometimes hard to take. The challenge is very great. But close study and even plain common sense should cause us to see the reality of God's message for us.

Godliness With Contentment

How wonderful it would be if all of God's people could learn the lesson that possession of this world's goods does not produce happiness or lasting joy. Indeed, by worldly possessions we may be made momentarily secure and temporarily pleased, but soon we realize that these things of the world vanish and whatever security they have furnished goes with the "things". But if our trust is in the Lord, then our security will increase as our faith increases. If our joy is in righteousness, than our happiness will multiply in proportion to the amount of good we do. If our ambition is to possess holiness, then our satisfaction will be greater and our conscience clearer because of the greater purity in our hearts and lives.

The Snare Of The Rich

Paul said that if we have food and clothing we ought to be content. A life that is devoted to searching for and seeking after worldly possessions leads to temptations that engulf even good men in evil. In the first place, one cannot truly trust in worldly things and keep his trust in God. And, what a pity to miss the assurance that comes from full trust in the Lord. Elizabeth Cheny wrote the little poem, "Overheard In An Orchard", in which she said,"

Said the Robin to the sparrow:

"I should really like to know Why these anxious human beings

Rush about and worry so?"

Said the sparrow to the robin:

"Friend, I think-that it must be, That they have no Heavenly Father

Such as cares for you and me".

But of course the sparrow was mistaken. God does care for his own. We can fully trust him. But when we so blindly pursue the things of this world we give every evidence that we at least don't understand God's providential care for us. But pursuit of worldly gains may not only cause us to lose our trust in God, but this may indeed lead us into actual evil deeds. Men steal, lie, cheat, murder and embezzle just to gratify desires for worldly goods. Most of the crime we read about is committed for money. Perhaps most of those now in prison are there because they surrendered to the temptations to try to "be rich" (1 Tim.6:9). One sin leads to another. Greed is sin, but greed leads to even other and more destructive sins.

Neither The Things Of The World

Paul was not the only one whom the Holy Spirit used to bring urgent words regarding worldly "things". John wrote, "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world" (1 Jn. 2:15). No amount of human ingenuity can twist or turnthis word to eliminate the scorching denunciation given by John regarding those who place their affection in "the things of this world".

Understand, God does not condemn money. It is a handy medium of exchange, and it can be used well and fruitfully. It can aid in providing the best opportunities for service to God and to mankind. It is not the money that God hates but man's affection for it. An unknown author has expressed it this way:

Gold! Gold! Gold! Gold!

Bright and yellow, hard and cold;

Molten, graven, hammered and rolled;

Heavy to get and light to hold.

Hoarded, bartered, bought and sold, Stolen, borrowed, squandered, doled;

Spurned by the young but hugged by the old To the very verge of the churchyard mold:

Gold! Gold! Gold! Gold!

Good or bad, a thousand fold!

So many souls will be in hell, not because of money, but because of their love for it. Ananias and Sapphira fell by this weakness. (Ac. 5:1-11) Then are we to avoid money? Not at all. Paul wrote, ".... let him labor working with his hands that he may have to give to him that is in need" (Eph. 4:28). Again he wrote, "But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel" (1 Tim. 5:8). So we see that some money is important. Much money may indeed be too much temptation. Yet no money is bad--no amount regardless of quantity is actually evil. Yet any amount--even just a little--becomes a source of evil when it is made the real object of our affections.

Point Of Emphasis

Why do you want money and other worldly "things"? Is it to satisfy pride? Is it to provide security? Do you have an underlying fear that God won't take care of you, and a hope in your heart that your money is capable of providing assurance against failure? Or do you recognize that money is only a tool, that it only helps? Have you learned that anything which money can buy isn't very previous anyway? Do you recognize that the highest priced item is not very expensive if it cost nothing but money?

How hard do you try to secure more money? Are you willing to sacrifice any principle of honesty, justice or integrity just to gain more of this world's goods? Of course not! But have you diminished your work for Christ, your zeal for truth, your fervor for souls — all because you seek more and more and more worldly gain? Have you relinquished some of your duties to your husband, your wife, your children, so that you may provide them with more money?

It is not my purpose to judge your motives. I have enough trouble in trying to regulate my own. I'm not trying to pick on you because you may be ambitious. But I'm interested in heaven. And I'm afraid some of us will miss it for no other reason than "the love of money". As we try to evaluate our attitude toward money (and other worldly things) let us take the following inventory of ourselves:

1. Do I really seek money for the good I can do with it in my own life and in the lives of others?

2. In seeking money do I keep the right perspective: Is God first? Is personal salvation second? Is family third? Is money last?

3. What does money cost me? Do I give up purity for possessions? Do I sacrifice integrity for worldly gain? Has my religious life been minimized even a little just for the sake of gold?

4. What am I doing with what I get--and what I have? Have I laid up some treasures in heaven by proper use of my money? Have I made a troubled, destitute human being happier by use of my possessions?

"But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you" (Mt.6:33). " those things above, not on below.... Set your affections on things above, not on things on this earth" (Col. 3:1,2).

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