Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Stinking Rich

1Timothy 6:6  Of course, there is great gain in godliness combined with contentment; 7  for we brought nothing into the world, so that we can take nothing out of it; 8  but if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these. 9  But those who want to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10  For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains. 11  But as for you, man of God, shun all this; pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness. 12  Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of the eternal life, to which you were called and for which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses......
1Ti 6:17  As for those who in the present age are rich, command them not to be haughty, or to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but rather on God who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18  They are to do good, to be rich in good works, generous, and ready to share, 19  thus storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of the life that really is life.

The capitalist economic system is built on persuading people to accumulate. Being rich is projected as the desired goal of life. Yet our Christian faith runs counter to this. We are encouraged to avoid loving money; to resist the desire to be rich as a “trap of many foolish and harmful desires”.

Instead we are invited to learn to be satisfied with what we have. The desires that ought to capture our time and imagination are acts of generosity and good works. This is extremely difficult, because human beings struggle to be satisfied with what we have – we continually want more.  For this reason followers of Jesus are encouraged to “Strive for righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness”.  These are the only qualities that will ensure peace on earth.

For thought:
“There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”
Warren Buffett

Down in the human heart, crushed by the tempter,
Feelings lie buried that grace can restore;
Touched by a loving heart, wakened by kindness,
Chords that were broken will vibrate once more.
Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,
Jesus is merciful, Jesus will save.

The Sixth Sunday after Epiphany
The Rewards of Ministry
The Scripture passage for the day is drawn from Reuben Job and Norman Shawchuck, A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and other Servants, (Nashville, The Upper Room 1983), 84.
This reflection is from my own devotional exercises for the day.   

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