You may remember the TV show “Cheers.” If so, you should remember all the character’s names, well, at least the main ones. You don’t? Theme song’s wrong again. In one of the episodes, Norm has an X-ray that shows a spot on his lungs. As they talk about the worry, and the possible solutions, Norm goes in for the follow-up. There he learns the truth: there was a flaw in the X-ray. When he faced his mortality, he found a dream. When he realized that he was going to live a little longer, he decided to realize his dream. He was going to go to Bora Bora and enjoy the tropical life. And so, off he went to Bora Bora. Or so it seemed. His bar stool was empty. No one dared sit in Norm’s seat. But Norm had chickened out and was hiding in the owner’s office. He only returned when one of his friends told a crazier dream than his.
We chase after dreams in life. Maybe it’s not sailing to Bora Bora to live the tropical life. For many of us, those dreams include cash. We want the money. There’s nothing wrong with money. There is a danger, however, if money becomes our goal, our pursuit in life. Paul told Timothy that the love of money and the pursuit of money had caused many to wander from the faith and experience griefs. Paul suggested a different form of pursuit for Timothy: one that would be truly satisfying. “But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.” (1 Timothy 6:11 NIV)
There is a problem with goals that most of us have: when we achieve our goal, we want a little bit more. The old joke about money is “How much money does the average person think they need?” The answer: “Just a little bit more.” If money becomes our pursuit, we’re never satisfied. We want, “just a little bit more.” Pro Athletes sign contracts for millions of dollars, but will leave a team to sign with another team that will give them “just a little bit more.” The pursuit of money has become so strong that it’s become a competition. It isn’t how much money we make, or have, or keep that’s important; what’s important is that I make more than you. What a skewed system we all participate in. Paul’s admonition to Timothy is a great way to overcome this societal obsession. What if instead of pursuing money, we fled from that, and pursued righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness?
Competition over those things would be pretty awkward. Imagine trying to show others that you have more righteousness or godliness than the other guy. As you tried to do that, you’d actually be defeating yourself in that “battle.” What if, instead of a competition to become more “holier than thou” took the place of our pursuit of wealth, we developed an attitude of cooperation, of encouraging others, of building each other up in those qualities? What would happen to our world if righteousness or godliness became the “currency” of choice. Obviously, we can’t pay for food with two units of righteousness, but we can use the money God entrusts us with to encourage others along this path. We can’t dictate that path for others of course, but I can make the pledge myself, and invite you to join me as we pursue righteousness and godliness as lifestyle goals instead of wealth. God grants us many blessings so that we may bless others. The material wealth we have is just a small section of the blessings God gives, but it seems to dominate our thoughts and dreams. Let righteousness, godliness, and all those other features Paul mentioned to Timothy become your main goal in life. Let that pursuit consume you. The truth is, you can’t achieve those without God, so if you really want to achieve them, make pursuit of God your goal in life. When you do that, all the important things will fall into line.
Lord, help me to pursue my relationship with You first, knowing that righteousness and godliness will follow if I do that. Let me have just a little bit more of each.
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.