1 Timothy 6:6-10 Your Money or Your Life

Being a bit of a word-fiend I get one of those word-a-day emails
1in my email box every day… and I actually read it. This week Ifound a goldmine: pleonexia (pli-uh-nek-see-uh) It means “insatiable covetousness.” It is in my opinion one of the most defining words for America today. In fact I see way too much pleonexia in my ownlife not to mention in the lives of those around me. This should not be.

This morning I want us to look together into 1 Timothy 6:6-10 so that we can learn how to really have it all – by merely being content with what we have.

Your money or your life.

Jack Benny was certainly a master comedian. He had one famous skit in particular in which a crook would corner Benny and demand, “Your money or your life?” After a pause the impatient crook would scream “Look Bud, I said your money or your life?” Upon which insistence Benny would reply, “I’m thinking it over!” I want you to think it over this morning. Wha tis truly important for you and what will it take to craft contentment into your heart?

Look down at 1 Timothy 6:6 with me. One of the defining characteristics of the Ephesian heretics was their greed. They pursued wealth as an end in itself thinking that godliness was merely a means to financial gain. But godliness is a means of great gain, but not by way of making money off of being holy. The gain comes from godliness coupled with contentment.

William MacDonald writes,

"Godliness without contentment would give aone-sided testimony. Contentment without godliness would not be distinctively Christian at all. But to have real godliness and at thesame time to be satisfied with one’s personal circumstances is more than money can buy."

Job had it write so many thousands of years ago: Naked we came from the womb and naked we will depart. No amount of earthly wealth will matter a stitch in eternity. Once we get the brevity of life and it’s rewards into our hearts in comparison with the enormity of the afterlife and it’s rewards we’ll begin to think that it’s not only irrational
3but irresponsible to look at wealth building as the end goal of life.

It’s not just the false teachers who are in danger here. Our own motivation for wealth often steer us clear of the principle of contentment.

So how then can we gain contentment?

Reject the Love of this world’s riches

The philosopher Epicurus is reported to have answered that question long ago by saying “

Add not to a man’s possessions but take away from his desires.


It’s not that there is some direct formula between poverty and happiness.
5 No amount of “stuff” is going to make you happy. To the contrary always wanting something more is the surest path not only to greater poverty but to unhappiness.

In a 1989 interview, Mother Teresa was asked about the difference between the poor people with whom she worked in Calcutta and the rich people of the West. She replied: “Ifind the rich much poorer. Sometimes they are more lonely inside.They are never satisfied. They always need something more. . . . I find that poverty hard to remove.”

If you find yourself obsessing and yearning for greater riches of this world but you have little passion or hope for a treasure in heaven than your priorities are no better than these Ephesian heretics. And your reward is little better either.

Look back to the text in order to see three consequences of being fixated on money. (1 Timothy 6:9-10)

Temptation and a snare

The result of longing for wealth is first temptation. They will be tempted to any extreme of sin in their quest for wealth. How much better if our desire for godliness caused us to forsake the world instead of our desire for the world causing us to forsake godliness. This is why John tells us that ifanyone loves the world the love of the Father is not in them. (1 John 2:15)

He also says they fall into a snare. This is the same fate threatened to an unworthy elder earlier. If a would be elder did not have a good reputation with those outside of the church he was walking into Satan’s snare. A snare is little more than a looped wire or string placed in the path of some unsuspecting animal. When the little fuzzy thing wanders down the path the loop passes around his head or a foot and holds him in place unable to escape until the hunter that placed the trap can come along and kill him at his leisure.

If you make wealth the object of your desire it becomes to you a snare – holding you in place unable to get away until your destruction.

Foolish and harmful desires

Get rich quickly. That’s the mantra of the age. It’s also the standard method for parting a fool from his money. Get rich quick schemes are everywhere. The lottery serves as a fine example. It has rightly been called a tax on people too stupid to do math. Notwithstanding even I’m smart enough to stay away from the lottery. You have a better chance of dying in a fiery car crash on the way to buy the lottery ticket than you do of hitting it big in the lottery.

And if you can’t get rich quickly you can get rich slowly. But getting rich is the only goal in life than you’ve missed out on that which is most important. Just assuredly as this world will end in flames so too will every stitch of earthly wealth you’ve accumulated.

Paul doesn’t enumerate what these foolish and harmful desires are but we can surely guess at some ofthem ourselves. If you are always wanting more than you have than you’ll soon do almost anything to attain to it.

But the most terrifying result of making wealth the object of your affections is lost faith.

Lost faith

Look at the most misquoted verse in the Bible 1 Timothy 6:10. The Love of money is not THE root of all evil it is A root of all kinds of evil. It is but one form of idolatry but certainly one of the most prevalent especially in our society.

The Love of money causes people to wander away from the faith as has already been noted because they are willing to sacrifice righteousness on the altar of wealth.

Don’t think that you have to be rich for this to be a problem either. Whenever the collection of things becomes more important to you than your relationship to God,you have already begun to demonstrate just how important God is to you.

So what then are we to do?

Be content.

This little section of scripture caries the force of a command. “Believers must be content with merely the necessities of life.”
7 Look at this simple list that he puts before us. Food and shelter. Shelter could well mean not only a roof over your head but clothing on your body. So take these three: Food, clothing and shelter. Three items which not one of us lacks. But how often do you lack contentment?

And if you don’t have enough now, when will you have enough?

Compare this simple list with what you think you’ll need in order to be satisfied. Have you got food and shelter? It doesn’t need to be fancy. It doesn’t need to be extravagant. Just consider the basics listed here. And yet how many are seeking for so much more!

By refusing to be content with food, clothing and shelter you are despising what God has provided. So let me just ask the question: Are you content? (See Phil 4:10-13)

Set your heart on eternity

Jesus asked the question, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”(Matthew 16:26) He also gave us this instruction: Matthew 6:19-21 "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where mot hand rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. "But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

A familiar poem by P.H. Harding comes to mind (and with this I’ll close.)

Two little lines I heard one day,Traveling along life’s busy way;

Bringing conviction to my heart, And from my mind would not depart;

Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes only one, Soon will its fleeting hours be done;

Then, in ‘that day’ my Lord to meet, And stand before His Judgment seat;

Only one life,’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, the still small voice, Gently pleads for a better choice

Bidding me selfish aims to leave, And to God’s holy will to cleave;

Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, a few brief years, Each with its burdens, hopes, and fears;

Each with its clays I must fulfill, living for self or in His will;

Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.

When this bright world would tempt me sore, When Satan would a victory score;

When self would seek to have its way, Then help me Lord with joy to say;

Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Give me Father, a purpose deep, In joy or sorrow Thy word to keep;

Faithful and true what e’er the strife, Pleasing Thee in my daily life;

Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Oh let my love with fervor burn, And from the world now let me turn;

Living for Thee, and Thee alone, Bringing Thee pleasure on Thy throne;

Only one life, "twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes only one, Now let me say,"Thy will be done";

And when at last I’ll hear the call, I know I’ll say "twas worth it all";

Only one life,’twill soon be past,Only what’s done for Christ will last.

2William MacDonald and Arthur Farstad, Believer’s Bible Commentary : Old and New Testaments (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1997, c1995), 1 Ti 6:6.

3William D. Mounce, vol. 46, Word Biblical Commentary : Pastoral Epistles, Word Biblical Commentary (Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 2002), 341.

4The Letters to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon, ed. William Barclay, lecturer in the University of Glasgow, The Daily study Bible series, Rev. ed. (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 2000, c1975), 129.


6Today In The Word July 27, 2008. Moody Bible Institure

7William D. Mounce, vol. 46, Word Biblical Commentary : Pastoral Epistles, Word Biblical Commentary (Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 2002), 343.