The Voice of Money
Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 1 Timothy 3:2-3
Several months ago, I was wrestling with a life decision in which there appeared to be a right and a wrong choice. I thought I knew what God wanted of me, but that choice was going to cost me financially. I’ve got two kids in college now though. Money talks and its voice was quite convincing. I simply couldn’t afford to do the right thing. Then, as we sat in church that Sunday, our pastor talked about making decisions and said that if you’re doing a thing just for the money, you’re probably making the wrong decision. I was annoyed with him. He was right though. In the end, I made the right choice and I have yet to regret it.
I’ve done the exact opposite too, however. Though I once enjoyed working in the Emergency Room, it was a tough lifestyle. I can’t blame the job for my addiction, but it would have been difficult for me to get sober and maintain recovery while exposing myself to all the triggers that came with that job. I knew this. I remember thinking, This job is killing me. The problem was that it paid well, and I didn’t know what else I would do to make that kind of money. So, I stayed for the paycheck, I relapsed, and I came to regret that decision immensely.
In today’s passage, Paul continued his description of a mature Christian leader. In it, he said that such a one must be aphilarguros – without love of money. This stands in contrast with the one who is greedy, or who loves money. The materialistic individual seeks money above all, listening to its voice, while making every decision based on whether that decision brings financial gain. The opposite, the one who is aphilarguros, isn’t necessarily poor, but rather makes decisions based on right and wrong, not on whether that decision grows his bank account.
Paul didn’t say money was evil or that having money was wrong. Christian maturity however, means learning to make decisions based on God’s will instead of our will. Money talks though, and usually, we’re listening. When we make our decisions based on money, money becomes our god. In such a condition, we cannot follow the real God. We can’t serve God and money at the same time (Matthew 6:24). Money’s voice is seductive, but in the end, it leads to misery. Daily, as followers of Christ, we must choose to listen to God’s voice instead of the voice of money.