Rather than attempt to cover the whole chapter at once, I’ll be focusing on a particular portion of the text. More than likely, it will be this section that will be highlighted:
Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. (I Timothy 6:9-10)
Though I have a Bible commentary ready to go, I’ll admit I haven’t really begun my study of the passage or the Book of Timothy in earnest. Right now all I’ve got are some impressions.
The biggest thought I have as I read “the love of money is the root of all evil” is how, very quickly after reading it, we qualify it. We note that it isn’t talking about money as being evil, but rather the “love” of it. Whew. Only elevating money beyond its proper pace is bad, therefore. In doing so, I think we so protect ourselves from having to ask questions about whether or not our possession of money is having any negative effect upon us or could leave us morally culpable in any way. Because, globally speaking, we who live in the West are rich.
As I further ponder “the love of money,” I’m beginning to think that, despite our protestations, most of us do love money. I do. Most of you do. We think about it a lot–how much we have or do not have, how we can invest it, how we can make more, and what we can buy. Governments and societies (including our own) are often predicated upon the value we place upon money. Our whole way of life, in other words, works the way it does because we all love money. We value it. We hold it dear.
If every American stopped loving money, the entire framework upon which our country is built would be torn asunder. For us to prosper (i.e. have more money) we need to buy/build/invest in more things. If we don’t, the economy is “stagnant,” and society doesn’t flourish (i.e. get richer). For America, it seems, greed is good. After all, who doesn’t want a golden iPhone?
If these realities are true, if our whole national (and perhaps world) economy is built upon the love of money, then I Timothy 6 has something to say to all of us. It says that we are all walking a path containing the roots of evil. That our world so conspires to force us on this path of money-love that there’s almost no way out. It also reminds us, yet again, that God’s world is completely different from the one we’ve built. And, by extension, that only God can rescue us from this mess we’re in.
Bad news and good news. Yes and no. That’s where I am at with this passage right now; we’ll see how things progress.