1 Timothy 5:23-6:21; Jeremiah 3-4; Psalm 120
Success is an elusive concept. Everyone seems to have their own idea of what it means to be successful. If you are a sports figure, you used to compare statistics; now you compare the size of your contract with others. I thought about that because I recently saw a story about the DOD paying football teams to have patriotic days. They paid one team about $700,000 for privileges like “Military Appreciation Day.” In the news article, they mentioned that this amount of money was enough to pay that team’s quarterback for almost three quarters of play.
As Christians we have often seen people make the distinction that it is not money that is at the root of all evil, it is the LOVE of money that is the root of all evil. That makes sense, because some people will commit any kind of sin in order to gain money. It also seems to me that many of those who emphasize this point are often justifying their pursuit of money. The verse that follows immediately puts things in perspective for a Christian: “But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.” (1 Timothy 6:11)
The “all this” Paul notes includes a pursuit of wealth, false doctrines, controversy, and arguments. There are so many ways for followers of Christ to stray from the path God has set before us. The message here is simple: we should pursue godly qualities, not earthly success. Is it best to always win arguments or is it better to open the door for people to turn to Christ? Do my attitudes show faith and love or do they reflect a life that would step over other people to succeed?
I’m going to be honest here. So much of what Paul said here is antithetical to how I want to live. I want to gain wealth, honestly of course; I want to be right, ALL the time. I want to get in people’s faces when they are wrong (according to me). My call, though, is to pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness. God help me live up to that calling.
Oh Lord, You have changed me in so many ways and I thank You for that change. I read this verse and realize how much work You still have to do in me. Help me be open and willing for You to change me and mold me to Your will.