1 Timothy 6:10

Verse of the Day Devotion: 1 Timothy 6:10 

“For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” – 1 Timothy 6:10

Money is not the root of all sorts of evil, it is the love of it that is the issue.  Money in and of itself is not a bad thing.  In today’s culture, we could not survive without some money, for it does require funds to purchase food, clothing and shelter.  However, when our desire for money goes beyond our needs, this is when we could enter dangerous territory, that being greed and ultimately avarice.

Question.  What did Christ say were the two greatest commands?  “Jesus answered, ‘The foremost is, Hear, O Israel!  The Lord our God is one Lord; and you will love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this, you will love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.’” Mark 12:29-31.  This is where our love should be focused; to God and to people.

Those who have a love for money and longing for as much as they can get, covet it.  And the enemy can take that and tempt us to increase our love for it until money becomes more important than other people, and ultimately could lead to being more important than God.  And one of the tools he uses is comparison.  We compare what we have with what others have, or we compare what we do not have with what others have.  It is very easy to fall into this if our focus is things, and ultimately money.  The writer of Hebrews put it this way.  “Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5 Comparison of what we have will often lead to discontentment.  We begin to feel that what God has provided for us is not enough, we want more.”  At this point, our wants become our needs even though we do not really need them.  “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19. If He does not supply something to us, then do we really need it?  Paul alludes to No as the answer.

If we have more than we need, then our focus can be on those who do not.  Often, the way God supplies the needs of others is through the treasures of another.  We should think of money as a tool we can use to do the work of God here.  There was a Christian music performer who chose to give 90% of his money to others and live off the remaining 10%.  He brought in way more than he needed and he made the decision to meet the needs of others as his needs were met.  Is there a way we can take our excess and bless others who absolutely need it?  Let’s examine our situation and see where God leads us.  Not only will we be blessing others, but we will be blessed as well by the Father, and the knowledge that someone else is now in a better place.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

Matthew 6:19

Verse of the Day Devotion: Matthew 6:19

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.” – Matthew 6:19

Before we move deeply into this passage, it is important to see what was considered as treasures or wealth in the ancient world. Treasures consisted in clothes or raiment. Raiment was considered as covering, clothing, or general garments. However, treasures also consisted of gold, silver, gems, jewelry, wine, lands, and oil. The ancient world delighted greatly in display, in splendid equipment and costly garments. In fact, their treasures consisted much in beautiful and richly ornamented articles of apparel.

Now, looking at verses 19 and 20, their wordings are almost the same words as the other, but with very clear distinctions regarding the definitions of treasures. “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal.” Matthew 6:19-20. The thought here is not to ‘treasure up treasures.’ The word in the Greek for ‘store’ is the Greek word ‘thēsaurizō’ meaning to amass or reserve, to treasure together things. In these two verses, Jesus set up an absolute contrast between on earth and in heaven. He urged his followers to forget earth and think of heaven. We must not waste our time trying to get ahead in this world. He was asking them which is more important, temporary life here on earth or eternal life in heaven?

Later, He uses different wording to express basically the same point. “Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone wants to come after Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what good will it do a person if he gains the whole world, but forfeits his soul? Or what will a person give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels and WILL THEN REPAY EVERY PERSON ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS.”  Matthew 16:24-27. Notice the wording here, ‘he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me.’ The idea isn’t that earthly treasures are intrinsically bad, but ultimately, they are of no eternal value. If this is the case, then it is unwise for a disciple of Jesus to dedicate his life to continually expanding his earthly treasures, for they will, in the future, have it taken away by theft or destruction. Heavenly treasure, on the other hand, cannot be stolen of destroyed.

What He was saying was whatever you consider your treasures, either those things on earth or those things in heaven, is what you consider most important to you. And this is nicely capsulated in verse 21. “for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21. Jesus drew the conclusion that you can only have your treasure in one place, either in heaven or on earth. We cannot have it in both places. He is not saying we cannot be rich here on earth and be a true Christian for God has given many of His people wealth. But which is most important to us? Where are our desires, our heart?

Then Jesus finalizes this idea in verse 24. “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” Matthew 6:24. It is important in understanding this verse to note that the Greek word translated ‘wealth’ is ‘mammōnas’ or mammon. Christ proceeds to illustrate the necessity of laying up treasures in heaven from a well-known fact, that a servant cannot serve two masters at the same time. His affections and obedience would be divided, and he would fail altogether in his duty to one or the other. One he would love, the other he would hate. To the interests of the one he would adhere, the interests of the other he would neglect. This is a law of human nature. The supreme affections can be fixed on only one object. So, says Jesus, the servant of God cannot at the same time obey him and be greedy, or seek treasures supremely on earth. One interferes with the other, and one or the other will be, and must be, surrendered. Theologian Albert Barnes describes it quite well. “Mammon is a Syriac word, a name given to an idol worshipped as the god of riches. It has the same meaning as Plutus among the Greeks. It is not known that the Jews ever formally worshipped this idol, but they used the word to denote wealth. The meaning is, ye cannot serve the true God, and at the same time be supremely engaged in obtaining the riches of this world. One must interfere with the other.”

In closing, the idea is that if we place God as who we will follow, no matter what, then we cannot focus on attaining wealth. Also, if we place wealth, or mammon, as what we will follow, then we will not focus on God and His ways. It is important that we look at our thoughts, desires, and how we live our lives and ensure nothing comes before following God and obeying every command He gives us. Nothing should ever come before serving God in all things. And we must remember that we don’t have to be rich to serve mammon’ money and material things; the poor can be just as greedy and covetous as the rich.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, President and Founder of True Devotion Ministries.

Mark 12:41

Verse of the Day Devotion.  Mark 12:41

“And He sat down opposite the treasury and began observing how the multitude were putting money into the treasury; and many rich people were putting in large sums.” – Mark 12:41  

This verse of the day will be focused on what is important in regard to giving.  I call this, as others do, the widow’s offering.  This begins with Jesus observing the giving of many.  “And He sat down opposite the treasury and began observing how the multitude were putting money into the treasury; and many rich people were putting in large sums.” Mark 12:41.  Now the treasury might have been located in the court of women and consisted of thirteen trumpet-shaped receptacles for both the temple tax and money given voluntarily for various purposes. This is not fully understood however it is seen by many in this way.  Because of this difficulty, many usually interpret this as a reference to one of the thirteen trumpet-shaped offering boxes that stood in the Women’s Court, six of which were designated for freewill offerings. Many people came to give their offerings, and many of the rich were giving large amounts. 

And while He was watching, “a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a cent.“ Mark 12:42.  The two very small copper coins mentioned here were two lepta in the Greek. The lepton was the smallest coin in circulation in Palestine and was worth 1/64 of a denarius, which was a day’s wages for a common laborer.  Needless to say, it was a coin of very little value. Now as was their way, the rich probably made a show in giving their offering, both in how they did it, and in ensuring that people heard the coins as they were put in the receptacle.  But for this poor woman, she no doubt quietly placed them in the receptacle. And because the coins were so small and had little weight, and therefore were probably not heard, especially with all the noise of the other contributors.  

Now, Jesus calls His disciples to Himself and says, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury; for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on.” Mark 12:43-44. Jesus let the disciples know that the thing of most importance is not how much is given but the extent to which the gift is a sacrificial one. Or to put it another way, the most significant thing is not how much is given but how much is left for one’s personal use afterwards. A major element of Jesus’ teaching is that attitude is more important than action. The widow’s total giving demonstrates an attitude of absolute trust in God.

There are several things this story of the widow’s offering teaches us. First, God sees what man overlooks. The big gifts in the temple were surely noticed by people, and this was probably their purpose, and also what the disciples were watching. But Jesus saw something they did not. He saw the humble gift of a poor lady. This was the gift Jesus found worthy of comment, and this was the gift He wanted His disciples to see. Other gifts given that day made a lot of noise as they jingled into the receptacles, but the widow’s gift may not have may not have been by those there, but it was still heard by God.

Second, God’s evaluation is different than ours. The widow’s gift added up to a penny, according to man’s estimation. But Jesus said that she had given more than anyone else that day. How could this be? The difference is one of proportion. The rich gave much but they still retained their fortunes; the widow gave everything, all she had to live on. Hers was a true sacrifice; the rich had not begun to give to the level of her sacrifice.

And lastly, God commends giving in faith. Here was a woman in need of receiving charity, yet she had a heart to give. Even though the amount was negligible, what could her offering buy. But she gave it in faith that God could use it. The widow’s faith is also evident in the fact that she gave the last of her money. Like the widow of Zarephath, who gave her last meal to Elijah (see 1 Kings 17:7–16), the widow in the temple gave away her last means of self-support. Does this mean the widow left the temple completely destitute, went home, and died of starvation? No. The Bible teaches that God provides for our needs. (See Matthew 6:25-34). We don’t know the details of this particular widow’s future, but we can be certain that she was provided for due to our loving God. As Paul said so well, “And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19

It is interesting that just before Jesus commented on the widow’s gift, He commented on the scribes who devour widows’ houses. ”And in His teaching He was saying: “Beware of the scribes who like to walk around in long robes, and like respectful greetings in the market-places,  and chief seats in the synagogues, and places of honor at banquets, who devour widows’ houses, and for appearance’s sake offer long prayers; these will receive greater condemnation.” Mark 12:38-40. The religious officials of the day, instead of helping the widows in need, were perfectly content to rob them of their livelihood and inheritance. The system was corrupt, and the darkness of the scribes’ greed makes the widow’s sacrifice shine even more brightly. “Let each one do just as he has purposed in his heart; not grudgingly or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7. And He is faithful to take care of His own.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.

Isaiah 55:1

Verse of the Day Devotion Isaiah 55:1 

“Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; And you who have no money come, buy, and eat. Come, buy wine and milk Without money and without cost.” – Isaiah 55:1 

This verse opens with a call for attention. The Hebrew exclamation hôy, usually indicating a lament, can also be a way of hailing people and is expressed in our translation as meaning “you there”. God, through Isaiah, is calling the people to listen to what He is about to say.  He calls for everyone who is thirsty to come and drink. Thirst here has the idea of intense desire and is thus applied to the sense of want which sinners often have, and to their anxious wishes for salvation. It is not improbable that the Savior had this passage in his mind when he pronounced the blessing on those who desire strongly, righteousness. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” Matthew 5:6.  No needs are so keen, none demanded, as those of hunger and thirst. They occur daily; and when longing continued, as in the case of those who are shipwrecked and doomed to wander months or years over burning sands with scarcely any drink or food, nothing is more distressing. Hence, the figure is often used to denote any intense desire for anything, and especially an ardent desire for salvation. We also see this picture in Psalms where David said, “As the deer pants for the water brooks, So my soul pants for Thee, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God; When shall I come and appear before God?” Psalm 42:1-2.

And then, He states after this to come and eat and drink.  There is no cost, therefore all can be satisfied.  In this world, those things that are most desired cost the most.  However, in the Kingdom of God, all is free for those who seek God with all their hearts.  There is nothing we should desire more than the salvation God provided through Christ.  And God provided this free of charge for those who will simply accept it.  “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” Romans 10:9-10.   

Then in verse two we read, “Why do you spend money for what is not bread, And your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, And delight yourself in abundance.” Isaiah 55:2. Too often, people let money take up all their time and strength, and inevitably their life. And they ignore or do not understand what is truly important.  And what is truly important has no earthly cost but is of infinite value, which exceeds those things which can never nourish or satisfy you, such as worldly goods and pleasures. And as John Wesley put it, “Eat ye – That which is truly and solidly, and everlastingly good. In fatness – In this pleasant food of gospel enjoyments.”

This is the message the world needs to hear, and we as Jesus’ disciples are the ones called to tell them. And then, we are to train them how to live this life that is pleasing to God.  “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28: 19-20.  Jesus has told His disciples to make disciples who make disciples who make disciples …” ad infinitum. This is what Jesus wants of us.  To help the lost see that what the world has to offer is absolutely insignificant compared to what God has provided by Jesus Christ paying the penalty for us that we could never pay.  And then for these to go out and do the same, ad infinitum.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.

Hebrews 13:5

Verse of the Day Devotion:  Hebrews 13:5

“Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU,” – Hebrews 13:5

One of the things we must always remember, being God’s children, is that we have all we need.  Paul says it this way.  “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19.  We have nothing to worry about in this context, for He will work on our behalf to provide our needs.  However, we must realize what our needs truly are.  Too many people look at their wants and make them needs.  Jesus lays out what our needs are in His Sermon on the Mount.  “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” Matthew 6:25.  These are our basic needs; food, drink, and clothing.

The writer of Hebrews here is telling us that we must remain free from the love of money.  He is telling us that we must be content with what we have, not desiring more money so we can get more things.  We should be satisfied with having what we have so that we can be at peace and available to do the work of God.  And it is necessary based on a couple of verses prior to our focus verse.  “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it. Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are ill-treated, since you yourselves also are in the body.”  Hebrews 13:2-3.  There are many Christians who are struggling in life.  Now, Paul said in Philippians 4:19 (see above) that God will supply all our needs.  However, He may choose to supply these needs for another through us.  If He provides abundantly for us, maybe it is to meet ours and another’s needs as well.  I want to say though there is nothing wrong with getting some things that we want.  But we cannot desire so much that we begin to love things more than God and others.   

Paul, in his first letter to Timothy, wrote the following.  “For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” 1 Timothy 6:10.  Paul is not saying that money itself is the problem, but it is the love of it that is the issue.  One of these evils can be, and many times is, the neglect of His people who are in need so that our wants are satisfied.  Again, I am not saying that getting what we want is wrong.  It is putting these wants ahead of what God deems as more important.  Just as money is not bad, but the love of it can lead to many forms of evil. 

Therefore, the important idea here in our focus verse is that we should not put money ahead of what God desires us to do.  And secondly, we should not put money ahead of God when it comes providing for our needs.  And lastly, we should not put money ahead of meeting the basic needs of others. There is nothing wrong with money, but it is the position it holds in our lives that can be the issue.  We must not trust anything other than God Almighty to meet our needs.  He has promised so many times throughout the scriptures that He will not forsake us.  God can and will use the things we have to meet our needs.  But we must not come to the point where we think money will supply all our needs, and thus placing it in a position where we rely on it for everything.  It is not money that meets our needs, but it is God who does.  He loves us beyond our greatest understanding, and He is the only person and thing we should rely on to meet our every need.       

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries. 

Ecclesiastes 5:10

Verse of the Day Devotion: Ecclesiastes 5:10 

“He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves abundance with its income. This too is vanity.” – Ecclesiastes 5:10 

Some years ago, a rich entrepreneur was asked a question regarding his goals.  Not remembering the exact quote, the question was essentially, ‘You have everything you could ever need, millions of dollars, a large and fancy home, and an incredible business growing fast and prosperously.  What keeps you motivated?  His answer was this, “To make another million.” 

This is a sad response to the question; however, I believe many more would answer this question in the same way.  This person could have said enjoying time with family and friends, learning new skills, or just enjoying life.  However, it appears that his mind was focused on making as much money as possible for his heart was focused on wealth. 

Money is but a small part of what life is about.  It should be used as a means of meeting our needs and the needs of others.  Of course we should set aside some provisions for future use.  “Go to the ant, O sluggard, Observe her ways and be wise, Which, having no chief, Officer or ruler, Prepares her food in the summer And gathers her provision in the harvest.” Proverbs 6:6-8. We should not take all we make and spend it, for harvests happen one or two times a year, and some should be saved for when there is no harvest.  And this verse.  “There is precious treasure and oil in the dwelling of the wise, But a foolish man swallows it up.” Proverbs 21:20.  This is saying that it is wise to put some of our money away for future needs, because if we consume it all, we shall have nothing to support us during these times.

The problem with loving money is that we will never be satisfied and will focus on getting more and more.  People who love certain things will desire to acquire more of what they love.  Those who love snacks will buy assorted snacks to satisfy their desire for snack foods.  Those who love books will acquire books in order read what they desire, then put them away for future use.  And those who love admiration will seek admiration from others.  What we love we pursue as we have the means to do so.  But to put all our focus on anything other than God is not wise and will take our focus from pursuing God. As the writer of Proverbs says, it is vanity.  According to Strong’s dictionary, vanity is that which brings emptiness and is unsatisfactory and vain. Ultimately, loving anyone or anything more than God is empty and unfulfilling.

Let us work to place our focus on God: who He is and what we can do to give ourselves completely to Him.  Nothing can ever satisfy us more than God can.  And besides, as Timothy said, many have been lured away from God by its tentacles.  “For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” 1 Timothy 6:10.  This makes it clear that money is not the problem, but the love of it is.  It is not an abundance of money, but the love of it that causes us to desire more and more, focusing on wealth rather than obedience and love for God.  This life is so short, and the next life is eternal.  And we have two ultimate destinations.  We can be forever with God or forever separated from Him.  I know which I desire.  I pray you focus on life with God forever as well.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.