ABC Extra – Falling in Love – 1 Timothy 6:3-11
Melody and I are in the process of house hunting. It’s no easy task. We’ve looked at property after property and home after home. We don’t like the style of some houses. We didn’t care for the location of others. Still other houses were over-priced. But then there were those special houses – the houses that catch your eye and tickle your fancy. Those houses that are so quaint, they make you fall in love with them. Thankfully, however, as I began this process, I spoke with a dear congregational member who has a lot of history in the real estate business. He gave me some sage advice. “Pick an established neighborhood,” he told me. “You don’t want to see a strip mall go up across the street from your house in two years. And never, ever fall in love with a house. If you fall in love with a house, you’re more likely to pay too much and get too little. Remember, a house is just a commodity. There are things more important than the house you live in.”
This member’s advice concerning home buying is truly seasoned and wise, not only from a financial standpoint, but from a spiritual one. For the commodities of this world – be they homes or cars or gadgets or gizmos – have a way of trying to capture our hearts. But we are not to fall for their allurements. For these are things that “moth and rust destroy, and thieves break in and steal” (Matthew 6:19). They’re not eternal. They’re just commodities.
In our text for this weekend from 1 Timothy 6, Paul offers a stark warning against falling in love with the commodities of this world. In one of the most famous verses of all the New Testament, Paul writes, “People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men 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” (1 Timothy 6:9-10). Loving commodities and the money which purchases them is the surest way to much grief. It is a trap. Don’t fall for it.
The Greek word for “trap” in verse 9 denotes a snare. Like some wild game caught in a snare, soon to lose its life, money wants to seize us in its clutches, and it wants to “plunge us into ruin and destruction.” It wants to make us lose not only our lives, but our eternities. For it wants to entice us into “wandering from the faith.” Interestingly, Paul speaks of this same trap earlier in this same epistle when he warns, “Do not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap” (1 Timothy 3:7). Here, Paul alerts us to the one who sets the trap of loving money – it is none other than the devil himself.
Loving money does not just cost us our bank accounts as we try to live beyond our means, it costs us our souls as we forget about that which is truly priceless and transcendent. Perhaps the great preacher Chrysostom put it best when he said, “Riches are not forbidden, but the price of them is.” In other words, it is okay to have riches, but it is not okay to sacrifice that which is truly important – things like “righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness” (verse 11) – to get those riches. That is a price for riches that is simply too high to pay.
Never, ever fall in love with money or the things which money can buy. They’re just commodities. And there are things more important than commodities. There are things that money can’t buy. Things like the forgiveness of God, bought not with a checkbook, but with the blood of his one and only Son. And it is okay if he captures your heart. For Jesus is eternal.
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