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A life “free from the love of money”

November 12, 2021

Daily Scripture

Hebrews 13:2-6

2 Don’t neglect to open up your homes to guests, because by doing this some have been hosts to angels without knowing it. 3 Remember prisoners as if you were in prison with them, and people who are mistreated as if you were in their place. 4 Marriage must be honored in every respect, with no cheating on the relationship, because God will judge the sexually immoral person and the person who commits adultery. 5 Your way of life should be free from the love of money, and you should be content with what you have. After all, he has said, I will never leave you or abandon you [Deuteronomy 31:6; Genesis 28:15]. 6 This is why we can confidently say,

The Lord is my helper,
and I won’t be afraid.
What can people do to me? [Psalm 118:6]

Daily Reflection & Prayer

The letter to the Hebrews emphasized that contentment is not just possible but highly desirable for all of God’s people. That’s true whether life’s circumstances bring them much money, or not so much. The writer quoted Psalm 118, and also alluded to stories in Genesis about God’s faithful care for God’s people. To Christians facing financial pressures from the hostile Roman Empire (cf. Hebrews 10:34), the message was that we can trust that God will never, ever abandon us.

  • Scholar N. T. Wright noted a helpful rule of thumb about money in Hebrews 13: “When you love something or someone, you make sacrifices for them. When you find yourself making a sacrifice of something else in your life, simply so that you can follow where money is beckoning you, regard that as a danger signal.”* What relationships, activities or values would you never give up, never sacrifice just to be able to pursue more money?
  • Wright further observed that Hebrews 13 was not talking about random “topics.” All of its wisdom connected to our faith: “Those who trust in God to be with them forever, to help them and defend them in and through all circumstances, will be far less likely to fall for the temptations of sexual immorality or love of money, both of which so often attack those who are personally insecure.”** How can trust in God, and the contentment that brings, ripple through all the other parts of life?

Lord Jesus, you are creative and dynamic, yet your steadfast love, the core of your character, never changes. Teach me day by day how to anchor all my hope more firmly in you. Amen.

GPS Insights

Picture of Darren Lippe

Darren Lippe

Darren Lippe & his wife, Doris, first met in a Resurrection Single Adult Sunday School class in 1997 & were married in what is now the Student Center. They are empty nesters with 2 college-aged sons, Matthew & Jacob. Darren serves as a Couples Small Group co-leader & Men's Group Leader, while volunteering in a variety of other capacities at Resurrection.

I was browsing through the App Store on my phone & came across a new “app” that may help us better understand today’s passage. The app is called “NV.” Their slogan is “Don’t Be Envious, Be NV’d.”

Apparently the app constantly scans the accounts of all of your social media peers to help ensure that no one is getting the best of you. For example, let’s say you purchased online tickets to attend the Country Stampede concert in Topeka, Kansas. NV would alert you if any of your peers was attending a superior concert venue, so you could up the ante & replace those tickets with a trip to, say, Branson or if the competition was particularly stiff, Nashville. Thus, your posts & pictures from the concert would be sure to make everyone else jealous.

Likewise, NV monitors the local housing market to make sure your home is in the toniest/trendiest neighborhoods & recommends new homes that fit the bill better. It also checks on all current job listings to ensure your compensation is at the very top of your profession & it even monitors clothing purchase trends to guarantee that you are at your fashionable peak.

For a fee, you can upgrade your membership to the “NV-P” level, ensuring top service & 24/7 access. The app also has an environmentally conscious feature that checks your carbon footprint. As their promotional flash ad says, “It’s Great to be Green with NV.” Or, say you are trying to select the best bottle of wine to give as a host/hostess gift; you can just click the sidebar labeled “Pinot NV.”

Since we are constantly being told to look out for #1 & that if you aren’t winning, you’re losing; I was tempted to download NV. But then I read a few reviews:

  • At first, I loved this app, but then it became so stressful. To guarantee that our Christmas card photo was the best, we re-shot it 3 times. First, we were on the beach at Shawnee Mission Park, then we were in an apple orchard “picking” apples, then we were in front of a department store Christmas tree acting “natural.” I realized that the smiles were as fake as the settings. The next Christmas we took our photo in front of our slightly lopsided tree loaded with our kids’ homemade ornaments & everyone had genuine smiles.
  • I used this app to make sure my house was worthy of a photo-shoot in those vanity magazines, but I soon realized my house had become a billboard for bragging, not a home of comfort & contentment. After I quit the game of constantly comparing my home to others, my anxiety & stress amazingly dropped.
  • I changed jobs 2 times in 5 years just to keep moving up the salary ladder. However, I then had an emergency medical issue requiring hospitalization. My new boss texted to ask, “When will you be back at work?” My old colleagues came to visit me & brought me meals. As soon as I recovered, I went back to my 1st firm. I realized that I had foolishly let my paycheck become the measuring stick of my happiness.
  • The app has a portal that rates various charity options, so you can maximize your donation in terms of social cache’ & impress your social media peers. I realized, though, that this created a quid-pro-quo type exchange with my donation & robbed me of the joy that comes from being generous for the sake of being generous. There’s just something heart-warming that comes from a quiet donation that is freely given with no expectations in return.

You know, maybe I’ll pass on a life of NV. Our writer in Hebrews may be on to something. The desire for wealth is built on an illusion: security. We’ll never have enough & it will never provide us with a permanent feeling of peace & contentedness. Perhaps we could focus on appreciating the people already in our lives, enjoy the things we already own, & strive to live a life that would make God click “Like.”

Ironically, living a life of meaning, peace, & contentedness would probably make us the envy of the neighborhood.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to delete this new app I mistakenly downloaded. I thought it was a calendar app, but it turns out it was actually a colander app – and now it just drains my battery.

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

* Wright, N.T., Hebrews for Everyone (The New Testament for Everyone) (pp. 170-171). Westminster John Knox Press. Kindle Edition.

** Wright, N.T., Hebrews for Everyone (The New Testament for Everyone) (p. 171). Westminster John Knox Press. Kindle Edition.