Jesus & {Your} His Money: Part 7 - Money & Love & Evil

October 6, 2016 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

Posted in: Pastoral Encouragement

This is the seventh in a series of reflections on Jesus’ teaching about money and wealth in the Gospels. Randy Alcorn, writing in The Treasure Principle: Unlocking the Secret of Joyful Giving, says, “15 percent of everything Christ said relates to this topic – more than his teachings on heaven and hell combined” (p. 9). How does Jesus want us to think about money? How does the Gospel affect our attitude toward the use of money? Join me on this multi-week exploration of what Jesus teaches about money.

Even in the 1st century, money was a big deal. The wealth and convenience we enjoy in 21st century America by far outweigh the wealth enjoyed in the 1st century. That’s why Jesus’ perspective and teaching on money and wealth is so vital for our spiritual health in relationship with God. We need to heed his warnings about the poisonous treasuring of money.

The apostle Paul reinforces Jesus’ teaching on wealth in his first letter to Timothy. Perhaps you are even familiar with Paul’s famous saying in 6:10, “the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.” Many are quick to point out that it is the love of money that is the root of evil, not money itself, perhaps seeking to assuage any conviction about having wealth. What does Paul mean by the love of money and how does his teaching compare with Jesus’?

1. The love of money is the opposite of contentment. In 1 Timothy 6 Paul is commending contentment as a companion to godliness: “godliness with contentment is great gain…if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content” (v. 6, 8). Then he contrasts contentment with the “desire to be rich” (v. 9). This desire is harmful and destructive. Why? Because it strikes at the very heart of our being. Wealth becomes the treasure of the heart. That’s what Paul means by “the love of money.” This is on par with Jesus’ teaching that “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matt. 6:21).

Several corollaries can be drawn from this: 1. At the root of discontentment is the love of money; 2. Discontentment is a form of idolatry, as it holds wealth as the treasure of one’s heart; 3. You can have utterly no wealth in this world and still be ensnared with the love of money. Does the love of money rear its ugly head in your life through discontentment?

2. Hope in God is the antidote for the love of money. Paul says in verse 17, “charge the rich not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God.” Remember the rich young ruler? He walked away from Jesus dejected because his hope was in his wealth. He did not want to let it go when Jesus told him to. He could not see God as greater treasure than his wealth. Paul is calling all of us to hope in God, to value and trust in God as the greatest treasure. The gospel, the message about the supreme value of God in and through Jesus Christ, is the only remedy for the poison of loving money.

3. Paul, like Jesus, commends a generous attitude towards money. Paul continues in verse 18, saying, “they are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share.” Generosity is not only evidence of our conversion (a new treasure of the heart, namely, God), it also is the means to fight the good fight of faith; to grow in contentment and love for God. If you are giving away your money, you will certainly not hope in riches.

4. Paul, also like Jesus, points to heavenly reward. Through the gospel and the work of the gospel in bringing about a new heart and new desires, one has hope of heavenly treasure in God. Paul says in verse 19, “thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future.” Paul, just like Jesus, seeks to woo his readers towards obedience and hope in God with the promise of reward. God is the greatest treasure because he can give what money, or anything else, cannot give.


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