The aim of this devotional study is to reflect on the Christian approach to riches.
1 Timothy 6:5-19
5… From such [who suppose that godliness is a means of gain] withdraw yourself. 6 Now godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8 And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.
9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
11 But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses…
17 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. 18 Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, 19 storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.
Observations and reflections
- To get to the heart of Paul’s instructions in this chapter, summarize each sub-this section in a short phrase:
- Verses 5-8
- Verses 9-10
- Verses 11-12
- Verses 17-19
- Paul quotes some teachers who say “godliness is a means of gain” but responds by saying “godliness with contentment is great gain.”
- What do you understand by each of these phrases?
- Then Paul says we cannot “carry” anything out – why does he say that? [hint: what can we take out of this world…? see verse 6]
- So in light of this, why would Paul be content with only “food and clothing”?
- Paul is often misquoted as saying “money is THE root of ALL EVIL”; what does he say in this text above, and what difference does it make?
Application and Prayer
- Paul refers to people who once served God but have backslid in pursuit of earthly wealth. Do you know individuals who once served Jesus passionately but have since then become more wealthy and consequently more worldly, with less care for God and his things? How did it happen? Or, can you recognize in your own life that more possessions bring more cares and also more carelessness for God’s and his things?
- Paul gives command to wealthy people in the congregation Timothy oversees:
- “to not be haughty [proud]” – do you recognize in yourself that you more easily look down at poor people that at rich people? What is the right attitude? And how can you rectify that?
- “not to trust in …riches” – do you find (or long for) security in savings or insurance? What is the right attitude? And how can you rectify that?
- “who gives us all things to enjoy” – do you sometimes feel ashamed or guilty for having more money than others? What is the right attitude? And how can you rectify that?
- Pray to God about your attitude regarding money and earthly possessions – both that which you have and that which you desire or need. But take your time to thank God for that which you have and have had in the past – recognizing him as the “giver of all good things”! Then ask God what you should do with what you have now.