1 Timothy 6:6-19 (NRSV)
Verse 6Of course, there is great gain in godliness combined with contentment; Verse 7for we brought nothing into the world, so that we can take nothing out of it; Verse 8but if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these. Verse 9But those who want to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. Verse 10For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains. Verse 11But as for you, man of God, shun all this; pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness. Verse 12Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of the eternal life, to which you were called and for which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
Verse 13In the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you Verse 14to keep the commandment without spot or blame until the manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ, Verse 15which he will bring about at the right time-he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords. Verse 16It is he alone who has immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see; to him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen. Verse 17As for those who in the present age are rich, command them not to be haughty, or to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but rather on God who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Verse 18They are to do good, to be rich in good works, generous, and ready to share, Verse 19thus storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of the life that really is life.
The scripture today includes the conviction that, though the love of money may provide temporary satisfaction, the love of God lasts forever.
As a young pastor I often asked a parishioner with a successful business who tithed to speak during our annual stewardship emphasis. He emphasized how much more money he felt he had when he tithed. He focused on giving to God first and shared how he prayed about business decisions before making them.
Today’s reading especially addresses the dangers of eagerness to be rich, a topic that may be on our minds as the challenges of current cost of living increases are well evident. Money continues to be a need we ask God to help us with. Money talks, we are told, but so does God. As the letter to Timothy says, our true hope rests not on the uncertainty of riches, but on our God who richly provides for us all that we need for richness of life.
Gracious God, instill in us your love that lasts forever. Our money is yours. Let us use it to further your work while enjoying some of it for ourselves. Amen.