On Stewardship and the Orthodox Life - Part 44: It’s Your Choice, Part 2

“For the love of money is the root of all evils; it is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced their hearts with many pangs.” (I Timothy 6:10 RSV)

The Bible does not condemn the rich man because he is rich. The Bible does not declare the accumulation of wealth to be a sin. The Bible does not say that money is the root of all evils. On the contrary, the Scriptures reveal that it is God who gives the power to get wealth. This ability is a God-given talent – a talent to be used to advance the cause of Christ and His Church. The Bible does not condemn intellect or art – those, as well, come from the talents supplied by the Creator. Likewise, we cannot make ourselves more holy by only wearing sackcloth, or by stripping our homes of all conveniences and comforts.

Wealth is a dangerous possession (like any other possession) only when it is placed in competition with the True Treasure: Christ and His Church. It is when the earthly, the stuff that will pass away, takes over the devotion that God alone claims. Then wealth, stuff, becomes a snare.

Are we willing to trade eternal glory with Christ for the glitter and tinsel of earth? Are we willing to trade an everlasting home in heaven for a house that lasts but a few years at best? The choice is ours. Examples of poor choices in the Bible abound: Esau traded his birthright for a meal; Balaam forfeited the favor of God for the rewards of the King of Midian; Judas betrayed Christ for thirty pieces of silver.

It is the love of money that is denounced as evil. Money itself is a gift of God, given to be used for His purposes. Biblical examples likewise abound: God blessed Abraham, David, Solomon, Jehoshaphat, Hezekiah and others with great riches and honor. But they were faithful to God, followed His will, and cared for those around them who were in need.

With wealth comes great responsibility. With wealth comes great temptation. Americans in general are the wealthiest people on earth. Will we take the responsibility that comes with that wealth, and care for the needy of the world? Will we feed and clothe them? Will we work for peace and justice in our world? Or will we be tempted to miserly greed and the self-indulgence so characteristic of the lovers of worldly mammon?

It’s your choice.

This weekly series of brief thoughts on stewardship and Orthodox life is brought to you by your Diocesan Stewardship Commission.

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