“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
(Words of Jesus - Matthew 6:21 NKJV )
Chapter 6 is the final chapter of Paul’s letter to Timothy. Paul finishes where he started, giving Timothy a warning about false teachers and their false doctrines. This seems to be the greatest danger facing the church at that time, and is something Paul repeats in his second letter to Timothy saying it will grow worse and worse as the Day approaches.
What permeates through these warnings in chapter 6 especially, is the dangers of focusing on money.
The false teachers saw ‘godliness as a means of gain… ‘ (v5)
And Paul warns:
(v9) But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.
(v10) For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
Paul knew the dangers of money. He was very careful in his own ministry to not let money become the focus. In fact, his own words to the Ephesian elders (To whom Timothy was sent), was that:
I have coveted no one's silver or gold or apparel. (Acts 20:33)
And a similar example to the Thessalonians:
For neither at any time did we use flattering words, as you know, nor a cloak for covetousness—God is witness. - 1Th 2:5
Paul’s heart is seen these words:
Now for the third time I am ready to come to you. And I will not be burdensome to you; for I do not seek yours, but you. - 2Co 12:14
These words should be the heart of every spiritual leader. How sad to see in our time, these things being abused. The focus on the material vein not spiritual gain. That focus will lead people down the wrong path. Many have their hearts set on the blessings, not the One who blesses us.
Paul highlights the need for contentment. He says: “godliness with contentment is great gain”. (v5)
How can we experience that contentment?
Perspective is everything!
The story of Nick Vujicic’ visit to the “garbage city” in Cairo was a great illustration of this.
Amid streets lined with garbage piles, pig pens, and stinking trash, you would expect people to be overcome with despair, yet I found it to be quite the opposite on a visit in 2009. The people there live hard lives, to be sure, but those I met were very caring, seemingly happy, and filled with faith. Egypt is 90 percent Muslim. Garbage City is the only predominantly Christian neighborhood. Nearly 98 percent of the people are Coptic Christians. I’ve been to many of the poorest slums in all corners of the world. This was one of the worst as far as the environment, but it was also one of the most heart-warming in spirit. We squeezed nearly 150 people into a very small concrete building that served as their church. As I began speaking, I was struck by the joy and happiness radiating from my audience. They were simply beaming at me. My life has rarely seemed so blessed. I gave thanks that their faith lifted them above their circumstances as I told them how Jesus had changed my life too.
I spoke with church leaders there about how lives in the village had changed through the power of God. Their hope wasn’t put on this earth, but their hope is in eternity. In the meantime they’ll believe in miracles and thank God for who He is and what He has done.
I will never forget those children and their smiles. It just proved to me again that happiness can come to us under any circumstance if we put our total trust in God.
Nicks own life is a testimony of breaking free from the trend of focusing on what we don’t have rather than appreciating what we do have. He is a quadriplegic, but he has used what he does have for God’s glory.
Paul said these words in Philippians:
Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound.
And that ties into the final words we see in Chapter 6.
(v17) Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.
(v18) Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share.
It’s not wrong to be rich. But it’s what we do with those riches that is important. I have known some rich Christians who have pursued business excellence, because that’s what God has gifted them in. They are not focused on personal success and riches, but in using it to deposit into God’s work, and they truly enjoy the blessing of it!
But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 2 Corinthians 9:6 NKJV
The danger of the lukewarm church in Revelation happened to revolve around riches. So, with that in mind, I believe now is the time we need to think about what we are living for, where our lives are heading, for what purpose has God got us here, and remember:
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:21 NKJV