It’s maybe one of the most misquoted verses in the Bible. How many times have you heard someone say to you that “money is the root of all evil”? Cue a rant against the evils of capitalism. What 1 Timothy 6: 10 actually says is “ For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.”Have a look at the wider context and you’ll notice three things
- The issue in 1 Timothy relates to false teaching. It’s to do with leaders of the church who abuse their responsibility, twisting God’s Word and teaching false doctrine
- Their concern is personal gain. This is about greed.
- The result is great sorrow and they shipwreck their faith.
So, first of all the primary challenge here is for church leaders to guard our hearts. Where are our priorities? What do we love?
Secondly, if the issue is not money itself but the longing, lusting and desiring for it then that also widens our thinking.
Verse 9 says
“ But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction.”
At our home group this week, we tried a little thought exercise. What if we take out the phrase “be rich” and replace it with other attractions? For example
“people who long for Mr/Miss perfect to turn up…”
“people who long for fame”
“people who long for popularity”
“people who long for academic success”
And the big challenge for pastors
“people who long for recognition as ‘successful’ pastors”
You see, I think the real temptation for all of us is to be consistently looking for that thing or ideal which is just out of reach on the horizon. It’s also the thing that we think we can achieve or gain by our own efforts. So we are distracted from the Gospel and we are tempted to attempt o gain it by whatever means necessary. That’s how we end up in a mess
We learn to believe that when we get it, then it will solve all our problems. Except we never do quite achieve it and even if we do then it never really gives the contentment we are looking for. So we keep on pursuing our desires. I keep looking for the ideal home, ideal job, ideal partner hoping that one day I will find someone or something that satisfies. I gamble with my future. I don’t really know if the promotion or the new home will be better than before but it’s worth another role of the dice.
Paul tells Timothy that there is a better way.
“Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth”
Paul has found contentment in knowing God. This is what happens when we really grasp grace. And do you notice the “Future Grace” factor at work?
“ Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. 18 Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others. 19 By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may experience true life.”
Paul’s words here echo Jesus’ instruction to build up treasure in heaven. When we use what we have for good then we are building up true riches, eternal riches.
When I have faith in future grace then I don’t need to be striving to build up riches now. I find my satisfaction in Christ. I find my hope in him. He is the one who satisfies my every longing.
 1 Timothy 6: 17-18.