I was flipping through the channels with my 2 youngest boys the other day when I came across one of the Christian channels. There was a poorly drawn cartoon rat on the screen eating cheese boldly in front of a family who was looking on in terror. It caught my attention so I stopped to see what was being said. The host of the show, a very well-known TV Evangelist, had a guest who was explaining what happens when people don’t give sacrificially. He actually said that there was a literal demon named “Nibbles” that comes and eats away at your stuff. I wanted to turn the channel but it was like passing by a car accident and not being able to look away. I waited for the host to jump in and bring some form of correction but instead when the camera panned to him, he was nodding and groaning in agreement. About this time my 7 year old says to me something very insightful, “Dad, I think he wants us to send him our money”.
In 1 Timothy 6, Paul warns Timothy about this very thing. There would be false teachers who would prey on people’s weakness thinking that they could gain financially from it. All that they would have to do is tell them what they wanted to hear or make them feel guilty enough so that they would give to them financially. Vs. 10 says famously, “The love of money is a root of all kinds of evils.” Paul makes it clear later in the chapter that there’s nothing wrong with having riches as long as they are used to do good and to be generous to those in need in order to store up treasure in heaven. The problem lies when money has us. When every decision we make is solely based on how it will affect our bottom line, that’s when we end up making evil choices.
Paul encourages Timothy instead to run away from this kind of thinking and instead to pursue the riches that have already been provided for him by Jesus through the work of the Holy Spirit. Things like righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, and gentleness. These are the true treasures. These are the riches that last for eternity. When we by the grace of God, live like this we will prove out the truth found in Vs. 6 which says, “Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment”.