Almost everything that we buy today comes with a warning on it; whether it is something electronic, or mechanical, or even a child’s toy. But the most dangerous thing in the world doesn’t carry any warning. It is the dollar (or whatever currency we use). Paul says that the love of money is the root of all evil (1 Tim. 6:10), and if he had his way it would come with a government health warning. Notice what Paul says should be written on every note of currency.
“I am a great temptress”
“But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation…” (1 Tim. 6:9). Some temptations come so obviously; but financial ones come so stealthily, so beautifully dressed, so innocently, so excusably. If only we could see behind them: I am a temptress, I am a seductress.
“Those who desire to be rich fall into…a snare” (v. 9). If we knew that we were about to walk through a forest in which hunters had set traps and snares everywhere, how carefully, how slowly, how gently, how gingerly we would go. Paul warns that the love of money puts traps everywhere; traps that can grab us, damage us, and injure us. Yet how thoughtlessly and carelessly we walk! “I fool”
He says it leads into many “foolish lusts” (v. 9). “Foolish” here means irrational and illogical. He is saying, “If only people could see how irrational and illogical this love for money is. It looks reasonable, it looks logical, it looks normal. But, no! It’s irrational; it’s illogical if only you could see what it is doing to you. “I injure”
Paul does not only speak of foolish lusts but also “harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition” (v. 9). He says, “You think that this money is raising you up, promoting you, and making you big and high. No! If only you can see it’s drowning you, it’s taking you down, it’s suffocating you, it’s sucking the oxygen out of your life and you are slowly dying.” “I can make you an unbeliever”
Paul mourns that because of the love of money, some have “strayed from the faith in their greediness” (v. 10). The dollar has turned more people into unbelievers than any false religion.
Due to the love of money some have “pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (v. 10). It’s a picture of someone crucifying themselves. Every ill-gotten dollar, though it is thought to bring comfort, pleasure, and happiness, is actually turned into a sharp and painful knife. Talk about self-harm! Imagine if the dollar said all these things before we wanted it, before we got it, and as we thought about how were going to spend it. It would cry out, “I tempt, I trap, I fool, I injure, I drown, I create unbelievers, and I impale.” That would make a difference in our desire for it, what we do when we are given it by God, and how we use it. Maybe you are saying, “How can I be delivered from the love of money? It has put down deep roots in my life. Is there a weed killer? Is there a way to round up these weeds and roots and kill them? Or am I just left to my own efforts trying to kill these weeds in my own strength?” Well, thankfully not! Tomorrow I’ll supply some weedkiller. But if you want a hint about how to get started today, then have a look at verse 6.