The Trap (Daily Encouragement)
For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. 10 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. 11 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. ……. 17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.1 Timothy 6:7-11, 17-19
I mentioned Sunday that of the times the book of Proverbs speaks of wealth, half the time it says to prize it (it is helpful) and half the time it warns not to trust it (it can be destructive.) We see in 1 Timothy 6 this warning against trusting in wealth – he warns those who “want to get rich” (v/9) and those who “are rich” (v/17). From a study we did last fall from Redeemer Church on Generosity, here are three warnings on why we should not put our trust in wealth:
Paul writes that accumulating wealth for its own sake is a ‘trap‘, and he provides insight into how it traps us:
a. You can’t take it with you (vs. 7) – It is foolish to invest all or your time and energy accumulating material wealth when in the end you can take nothing with you. Of course there is wisdom in appropriate savings, putting aside some money for family, etc. But what Paul is referring to here is a hoarding of wealth; accumulation for its own sake. The implication is that there is so much more to our existence than attaining material wealth and that we are settling for much less if that is our primary mission.
b. Won’t provide contentment (vs. 8) – Certainly, money does buy comfort, but Paul is saying that it is a lie, a ‘trap’ to believe that riches will be a source of contentment, or peace in your life. You can live a more simplified life (‘food and clothing’) and be content. He is warning against using material wealth as a narcotic to provide peace and contentment.
c. It is destructive (vs. 10) – Paul argues that the ‘love of money’ can result in the piercing of your life. There is a great temptation to make the pursuit of money the source of your identity; what Jesus refers to as your ‘treasure’ (Luke 12:34, Matt 6:21). This is the “trap” Paul warns about. Money has an allure that is so strong that Paul urges us to ‘flee’ (vs. 11).
God is a good Father who loves us and who wants us to live life to the full. Like any good Father he warns us against things that could cause harm – don’t put your hope in money because you can’t take it with you, it won’t provide contentment and it can be destructive. The call is to treasure Jesus who provides eternal life, brings peace and flourishing in all o life. Tomorrow we will look at how we respond to the generosity of Jesus to be generous people.
Whether it’s through a desire to “want to be rich” or having much, where have you experienced the “trap” of accumulating wealth for it’s own sake?