Week of Monday, October 30 – November 5
First things First – Man as Instructor

But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.
But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
- 1 Timothy 6:6-12 ESV

Consider this story:

One day a certain old rich man, of a miserly disposition, visited a rabbi, who took the rich man by the hand and led him to a window. “Look out there,” he said. And the rich man looked into the street. “What do you see?” asked the rabbi. “I see men, women, and children,” answered the rich man. Again the rabbi took him by the hand, and this time led him to a mirror. “What do you see now?” “Now I see myself,” the rich man replied. Then the rabbi said: “Behold—in the window there is glass, and in the mirror there is glass. But the glass of the mirror is covered with a little silver, and no sooner is the silver added than you cease to see others but see only yourself."[i] 

 The apostle Paul warns us that an inordinate love of money has a negative impact on us. Notice that Paul didn’t call money itself evil. Money can be used as a great blessing to others; it can further the work of the church and advance the gospel of the Kingdom. It is the love of money that Paul warns about. In fact, he urges Timothy and us to flee from it. He tells us why in verse 9: “those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.” Paul says the love of money has caused many to stray from the faith and, in doing so, caused great heartache and pain (v. 11). That’s not only true for us as individuals but also for our families.

 At the end of the day, the pursuit of money is worthless. Paul reminds us: “we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world” (v. 7). That’s why you’ll never see a hearse hitched to a U-Haul leading a funeral procession. It has been well said: “Money will buy a bed but not sleep; books but not brains; food but not appetite; finery but not beauty; a house but not a home; medicine but not health; luxuries but not culture; amusements but not happiness; religion but not salvation; a passport to everywhere but heaven.”[ii] 

 Instead of pursuing money as our goal, Paul urges Timothy and us to pursue a godly life, fight the good fight of faith, and take hold of eternal life (vv. 11-12). To do that, we cannot be driven by a desire for riches. Instead, counsels Paul, we must more highly value “godliness with contentment,” which is “great gain” (v. 6). As the Instructor, our role is to communicate the right values to those we influence, and Paul offers not only time-honored wisdom but also transcendent truth that has eternal implications.

 Ultimately, Paul is addressing what we love—or what we love most. If you will stop and think about it, something or someone is the “love” or the most important thing in your life. You know what that is, and so does God. And so does your family and those you influence. You see, you focus on that thing, you talk about that thing, and you invest your life and resources in that thing that is most important to you. It could very well be that what is most important to you will become the most important thing to those God has entrusted you to influence. To be a true man of faith, Jesus and Jesus alone must come first!

As an Instructor, are you teaching contentment with the way you pursue and steward your finances? Are you modeling biblical stewardship by giving God a tithe in recognition that it all comes from Him?
- When you take inventory of your life, what or who is most important to you? Are you pleased with the answer you just gave? Is Jesus and a life pleasing to Him your primary pursuit? If not, what steps can you take to begin changing that?
- Ask God to reveal the desires of your heart and refocus your pursuits according to the Scriptures we just read. 

[i] Kenneth B. Alley and Leewin B. Williams, eds., Master Book of Humorous Illustrations: 1620 Pieces of Americana (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2000), 354.
[ii] https://gracequotes.org/quote/money-will-buy-a-bed-but-not-sleep-books-but-not-brains-food-but-not-appetite-finery-but-not-beauty-a-house-but-not-a-home-medicine-but-not-health-luxuries-but-not-culture-amusements-but-not-ha/