I continue to wrestle with Paul’s challenge to Timothy to “flee from all this.” In reading what Paul is calling Timothy to flee from, it is clear that most of the challenge has to do with the dangers of the love of money. There is also an admonition to beware those who are teaching anything that does not agree with the instruction Jesus had given. This is a great reminder for all of us. But I want to focus for now on the dangers of the love of money in our world today.
Paul saw those who were using the faith as a means to make a profit. We see that even today. But I think Paul is pushing deeper than that. Paul is writing that Timothy must beware those who love money in any form. There are incredible dangers. “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” (1Tim. 6:9-10). What does that look like today?
It is easy to look and say there are those who are workaholics and greedy and accumulating wealth and assume Paul would point to them today. I have to wonder, however, how the Lord looks at us in America today, overwhelmed by debt, striving to keep up with the Joneses and keep our image intact. I see so many people who have become convinced that they must have a big house with a room for each child. We feel the need to have new cars, the right clothes, the latest mobile phone, etc. With the collapse of the economy, many have had to deal with the loss of many of these things. As a result, they have lost their identity and are overwhelmed by life.
That is why Paul says, “flee from all this.” It is dangerous to allow what we have to define us. Proverbs 22:7 says that “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.” We should not have debt. Anything that puts us in a position to have to borrow should be a no. If we are interested in purchasing something and do not have the money for it, we should heed Paul’s words and “flee from all this.”
But if we only flee, we run aimlessly. Paul tells us to “flee from all this, and pursue….” Paul gives us direction in our fleeing, and we will explore that in the posts to come. But for now, if you are are looking at money and possessions as things you “have to have”, hear Paul’s words…But you, man of God, flee from all this…”