Where Does Money Fit?
There are many places one can go in the New Testament to find a few verses that would be life changing. In our western world of materialism, these words from the Apostle Paul to a young preacher Timothy would be every bit as effective today as they were 2000 years ago in aiding someone to redirect their lives from being worldly to being holy.
"Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith..." (1 Tim 6:9-12)
It would seem apparent from Paul's encouragement that in Bible times, people also had a problem with loving money and material things, and how to balance that in a healthy way with their faith. Paul said in verse 5, preceding the verse we quoted, that some think that godliness is a means to financial gain. Many in our world think that today too, and many so-called preachers have that doctrine at the core of what they proclaim, that acknowledging God in a religious way assures you of financial gain and wealth.
But Paul says it's a trap that we can easily fall into, and that the result is our own ruin and destruction. He says the love for money is a driving force of evil things in some way or another, and that those who spend their time and energy in lustful pursuit of wealth often leave sound doctrine and wind up in trouble. Our wealth needs to be of a different kind, we must be rich toward God. We came into this world penniless, and we will not take anything with us when we go, there are more important things than money.
So Paul charges Timothy to "flee from all this", with "flee" carrying the connotation of running for our own safety, running toward righteous things which he lists as being godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. He tells Timothy to "fight the good fight", or run hard and fast toward those holy things of God, seizing them in our current life and maintaining our hold for life eternal when our physical life is over.
The most important decision any of us will make in this life is whether we will build our lives around the temporary things this world offers, the material things, the carnal things and those things that are physically tangible. Or, pursuing the things that have spiritual value, holy and righteous in the sight of God, that will guarantee us life eternal in the presence of God. Some false doctrines of our day suggest you can have both, but the reality is these roads go in opposite directions. If we love the world, the love of the Father is not in us because the things the world loves are of the world, and not from the Father. (1 John 2:15-17)
Materialism is right up there with immorality and apostasy, all of which are extremely prevalent in our world and extremely dangerous. Many a Christian has stumbled, fallen and some fallen away over these wicked practices. We individually, we as parents, we as Christians and collectively as the church of Christ will struggle with these issues, but we must strive diligently to “become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation” (Philippians 2:15). The choice is ours. What choice have we made?