The Power of Humility in the Face of Wealth and Money
We have likely all heard of leaders in the church who have fallen from grace due to their pursuit of financial gain rather than the things of God. Whether they misused church funds, developed an addiction to gambling, or used their powerful position and money to manipulate others into doing what they wanted, this scenario replays itself all too often.
Many of us are left wondering “Why?”. What happened to lead them so far astray from their calling to follow Jesus and His commands, to shepherd their flocks in the ways of Jesus? How in the world could they have concluded that pursuing money was of more importance than serving the One they professed to love?
Scripture describes a little bit of the “why” behind this tragic phenomenon.
1 Timothy 6:10 says:
“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some have been led astray from the faith in their greed, and have pierced themselves through with many sorrows (WEB)”
This pursuit of money and power is not a new problem in the church. It is an affliction that has been present throughout human history among all peoples and nations, a poison that wreaks havoc on families, communities and even whole nations. Ultimately, it harms the person who has allowed a hunger for money to rule their hearts and minds.
What must we do to prevent such a thing from happening in our own lives?
We need to understand is that having money is not the issue. Money is merely a tool that has always been necessary in life no matter what form it has taken. Much like a hammer for a carpenter or a cell phone for any salesperson. But, having a love for money is where the problem begins. It comes down to our attitude and what is in our hearts.
The opposite of a love of money is humility and generosity.
Shortly after Paul explains the danger of having a love of money, he goes on to tell Timothy how to instruct the wealthy members of his congregation. In verses 17-18, he says:
“charge those who are rich in this present world that they not be arrogant, nor have their hope set on the uncertainty of riches, but on the living God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy; that they do good, that they be rich in good works, that they be ready to distribute, willing to share.”
Timothy was to remind the rich people in his local body of believers that they needed to avoid arrogance. Instead, they were to find their hope in the God who had provided everything they had. In addition, they were to seek to do good works and be willing to share out of their abundance.
This lesson remains for us today. By rejecting the temptation to hold on to our money or see it as something that gives us special privileges, we exemplify Christ Himself who gave up the throne and glory of heaven to walk among humans, to take on our form and our sufferings in order to demonstrate the love the Father has for us.
I’m going to close by quoting from Philippians, which I believe articulates this thought well.
“Doing nothing through rivalry or through conceit, but in humility, each counting others better than himself; each of you not just looking to his own things, but each of you also to the things of others. Have this in your mind, which was also in Christ Jesus, who, existing in the form of God, didn’t consider equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, yes, the death of the cross (Phil. 2:3-8, WEB).