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“Run away” from making money your goal

November 18, 2022

Daily Scripture

1 Timothy 6:7-12

7 We didn’t bring anything into the world and so we can’t take anything out of it: 8 we’ll be happy with food and clothing. 9 But people who are trying to get rich fall into temptation. They are trapped by many stupid and harmful passions that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. Some have wandered away from the faith and have impaled themselves with a lot of pain because they made money their goal.

11 But as for you, man of God, run away from all these things. Instead, pursue righteousness, holy living, faithfulness, love, endurance, and gentleness. 12 Compete in the good fight of faith. Grab hold of eternal life—you were called to it, and you made a good confession of it in the presence of many witnesses.

NOTE: On Sunday, November 20, we will invite all of those worshiping in person at any Resurrection location to turn in their financial commitment cards for 2023. If you will not be in worship in person, you can click here for information about the impact of your giving at Resurrection and to fill out your commitment card.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

Verse 10 of this reading said “the love of money” (not just “money”) is the root of all evil. The letter warned Timothy about temptation, priorities and pride. Only as we keep our relationship with God and God’s kingdom on earth as our highest priority can we relate rightly to our finances. We must limit the drive to have “more”—it can lead us to indulge “stupid and harmful passions.” The treasure God offers is eternal. Our future is in God, not our bank account and investments.

  • Pastor Gary Demarest wrote, “Consumerism is an infectious lifestyle, and most of us American Christians are more deeply infected than we realize or admit.” Then he asked, “Is our trust in God limited only to ‘spiritual’ things, or is He the Lord of all of life? Does God really promise to provide for our necessities? What are necessities? At what point do we cease expanding our ‘needs’ list? How much is enough?” *
  • Be honest with yourself. What preoccupies you—what is the focus of most of your thoughts? How much time, effort and focus would be available for your participation in the mission of God if this factor did NOT preoccupy your life? Ask your spouse or a trusted friend to alert you when they notice you “feeding” this preoccupation in any way that limits your ability to allow God to control your life.

Dear God, my TV and much of my mail and e-mail urge me to measure my life in terms of money and “stuff.” The Bible points me to your very different values. Teach me how to live more fully by your measure of what is truly valuable. Amen.

GPS Insights

Picture of  Leah Swank-Miller

Leah Swank-Miller

Leah Swank-Miller is Director of Student Ministries at Resurrection Overland Park. A Kansas native, she has been a professional actress for the past 15 years, and she loves to see the vastness of God’s creation through theatre and the arts. Leah is pursuing an M.Div. from Saint Paul School of Theology. Leah, Brian, and their two children love to play tennis, golf, soccer, and board games.

I need to confess something, friends. I was really into today’s GPS. I was motivated by the challenge to check my heart for traces of “the love of money.” I began reminding myself to “pursue righteousness, holy living, faithfulness, love, endurance, and gentleness.” Yes! I’m here for this! All until I read the challenge to “be honest with yourself and what preoccupies you—what is the focus of most of your thoughts? And then ask your spouse or a trusted friend to alert you when they notice you ‘feeding’ this preoccupation in any way that limits your ability to allow God to control your life.”

Nope! I felt my heart jerk back and my head say, “NOPE!” “Be honest about what preoccupies my thoughts…ask my spouse to be accountable to me about it”? This just got a bit tricky. How can I honestly divulge the truth that Christmas lists and vacation spots are currently invading my brain more than prayer time and meditation? (Shhh…don’t tell my seminary professors.) So, if I am honest about this to my partner, then he will ask me about it. I won’t be able to just read this post as a nice reminder of the pitfalls of being caught up in the control of what money affords me, I’m going to have to follow through and make today’s challenge a daily challenge.

Sure, dreaming of the perfect Christmas gifts or places to escape to with the family over the holidays can be common this time of year. But even if I’m not hoarding sports cars and storing up “stuff” in mansions, I am obsessing about what my money can get me in terms of happiness and peace. Money itself isn’t the issue, it’s what we want to receive with our money. And if I’m being honest, I use money to get what I perceive as peace and happiness.

Social media likes to tell us that this VRBO vacation spot or kitchen renovation is exactly what we need to be happy. Maybe it’s just one more rung up the professional pay scale ladder or keeping a bonus check all to yourself instead of helping a neighbor in need. I don’t know what preoccupies your thoughts in the attempt to find happiness, but what I do know is that “the pursuit of righteousness and holy living through faithfulness, love, endurance, and gentleness” is a lifelong battle with what we think money will give us. And time and time again I’m amazed at the happiness and gratitude I feel when I choose to put my money toward something that continues to bring peace and happiness to the world around me.

In our Student Ministries this month we’ve been focusing on Gratitude, noting that while thankfulness is a reaction to something someone has done for us, gratitude is a commitment we make despite how we feel. This past Sunday, students were gifted a $10 donation from a kind donor for them to do as they pleased, with the focus on how they might use this gift of money to reverberate gratitude like a ripple to others. I was blown away when after handing out the money donation our confirmation students one by one got up to give their $10 towards their confirmation tithe, a donation they are saving up for all year long to then give to a ministry partner in need. The smiles they previously had when surprised with being given $10 each were made even bigger when they quickly gave it away in gratitude. I continued to hear stories from other students who chose to use their money to divide in save, spend, and give piggy banks we handed out as well. Some chose to buy their friend lunch; one bought their mom a coffee–the kid of the year! Story after story, it wasn’t about how they could hoard happiness for themselves or assure peace through comfortable living and an impressive show-off post on social media. It was how to multiply love through gratitude. Free from the pride of money their hearts could dream big about how to bless others and in doing so it blessed them.

As I revisit what is preoccupying my time and stealing my thoughts, I remind myself that it’s not the Christmas gifts or the family vacations that are the problem. It’s what I think I’ll get out of them that causes the tension and ultimately the disappointment. So, I promise to ask my husband to help hold me accountable, and perhaps you can hold me accountable too. Let’s do this together, readers! Holiday gifts and vacations will happen, but the pursuit of the best thing money can buy can be replaced with the pursuit of the best way money can bless others and reverberate gratitude. Here’s to replacing control over what we think brings happiness with surrender to the one who is our source of happiness and peace, through the good, the bad, and all the holidays.

© 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.

* Gary W. Demarest, The Preacher’s Commentary Series, Volume 32: 1, 2 Thessalonians / 1, 2 Timothy / Titus. Lloyd John Ogilvie, gen. editor. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1984, pp. 225, 226.