Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Gain is not Godliness (1 Timothy 6:3-21)
I have stewed over this post for long enough. Why has it been so very difficult? I think its because we all want gain, and we all want godliness. I didn't like being told about or (writing about) gain and godliness. We all want them (even if we don't acknowledge it) to be one and the same.
After all, isn't that how our community and our society operates. Those who are rich are looked up to. Those who have made it and have found some measure of fame are to be looked up to. We examine what, how, why, and even where they did what they did to make it. We examine what they loved, desired, and who they became as society shaped them. But does this make them godly?
It is easier to look outside of ourselves for things or people to worship than it is to look inwardly. For to look inward requires honesty. So in thinking about this post, I had to ask myself, What do I worship? Godliness or fame, service or riches, wholesome words or disputation?
While in New York this past weekend we toured the King Tut exhibit. King Tutankhamun as a boy of nine was revered as a part Egyptian god, a sort of meditator between the living and the gods. Discovered in 1922 by Howard Carter his tomb remains the most wealthy of tombs ever to be discovered. Many other Pharaohs had greater and more wealthy tombs but they were plundered by grave robbers. Did he become a God because of his family birthplace, because of his wealth, or merely because of his culture. His example is one to be considered. Would you want him to be your god? Because of his wealth? because of his experience? because of ? It is of note to mention that he died an early untimely death most likely brought on my trama to the brain.
Weather he continues to live on after his death and find use of any of the hundreds of golden artifacts that decorated his tomb remains unanswered. What is certain is that he has gained eternal fame. Sadly it is not because of how he treated another, nor how he cared for the needs of his kingdom, but rather for all of the wealth that he acclaimed. I noticed as I walked through the darkened exhibit that many of the artifacts shed light on Egyptian belief and culture, but rarely did they reflect who Tutankhamen was. Those who buried him truly believed he would buy his way into the afterlife. How does that idea help the servant whose job it was to dig his tomb?
In my lifetime I have known many types of gain. I have known financial gain and we have been most blessed to never had need of want. I have known housing gain. We have lived in many different sized homes. I can tell you the larger ones took more effort than they were worth, and caused me to choose between helping others or maintaining my wealth. I have known educational gain that has brought me the discipline to discern between truth and folly. I have known the gain of friendship. And this has been my greatest treasure.
For in learning the godliness that Paul tried to teach Timothy I have learned the value of a true relationship holds a far greater worth than any book, any inanimate item, any amount of wealth, any amount of shelter. Why?
Because in friendships and relationships we have community. In community we have sharing. In sharing we have security, and in security we have peace of eternal treasures. I believe eternity is not a destination. It is not a place where we all gather to sit and play out our rewards. I believe eternity comes with every smile, every gift of the spirit, every kind word, every good deed, and every act that extends one's soul out to help another. Learning to serve through contentment brings great peace. And peace of the soul is the greatest wealth known to man.
Words and Phrases
vs 3 wholesome words - words that teach goodness, faith, and lead us toward godliness
vs 4 proud knowing nothing - pride blinds us from truth. pride blinds us from seeing how the desire for wealth of money causes us to disregard our respect for life.
vs 4 Pride = little knowledge, doting questions, strife, angry words, envy, railings, evil, and evil surmising
vs 5 Pride = disputations, corrupt minds, no truth, lies, teaches gain is unto godliness,
vs 7 - nothing - we came with no possessions and we leave with no possessions. Our souls can only carry the experiences that our lives give them. If we waste our time on earth with vain idolatry, at the time of our passing, our souls will be left wanting what they cannot have.
vs 6 the greatest gain - to be content... to seek after experiences that will garner godliness within us- this is the greatest gain
vs 9 they that will be rich - if we love money more than family, more than relationships, more than community, then when we have to choose weather to help another or to have our wealth, we choose our wealth. This wealth brings with it: temptation, snares, foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction .. and leads them to perdition.
vs 10 love of money - how do you tell if you love money too much? Do you think more of your wealth and gain than you do of service to those in your community? Do you choose work over relationships? Do you carve time out for work socials but forget your relationships? Does your job dictate how you spend your time?
vs 11 Oh man of God - flee from these things and follow what is right, examples of godliness, faithful moments, tender love, patience and meekness. For if you understand eternity, then you have no need for earthly gain. Your wealth comes in those you love and in your ability to bring them peace through truth. vs 12 the good fight
vs 17 them that are rich - so it is okay to have wealth.. just be sure to temper it with contentment.
don't be high minded (why? Because high mindedness tends to forget what it is to be without, or in need)
vs 17 uncertain riches - riches and wealth are dependent upon the mindset of the community within which we live. If we decide that our symbol of wealth would be tin instead of gold, then our entire society would shift in both mind and custom. Economics is an uncertain science because it relies on the fallibility and whims of man. It is a psychological study based on the emotional state of man. I would say that is fairly uncertain.
vs 18 them that are rich - should do good, find wealth in good works, share their wealth with those in need, communicate so that those in need have the ability to access what they need.
vs 19 a good foundation - is not found in the wealth of Egyptian gods, nor in the wealth of nations, it is rather found in service, communication, sharing, and giving aid to those in need so that as a community of believers we can find the peace that comes from within.