Paul continues in 1 Timothy 6 to speak about how our relationships are affected by God’s passion to see all people saved through the Gospel of salvation through Christ alone as taught by Paul God’s appointed spokesman (see previous reflections on 1 Timothy below).
In 6: 1 – 2 Christian employees (even if they are slaves) should respect their masters (whether Christian or not) in such a way that their passion for God’s passion is backed up in the way they live… that is that they don’t talk about a loving God but be unloving towards their masters. They should be content with their God-given lot in life.
In 6: 3 – 10 Paul speaks about the Bible teacher’s relationship with money and in essence says that if anyone teaches anything other than what he has been teaching Timothy, which is based on what Jesus taught, such a teacher is ungodly, conceited, ignorant, malicious, corrupt and false. Whew, would not have been very seeker sensitive when read out in the church! The real motive behind the false teachers is revealed – they use their form of “godliness” as a means to financial gain (verse 5). But ministry should never be about financial gain (in context it should be about God’s great Gospel passion) which is why Paul says that the true Bible teacher’s greatest gain is to be content with whatever his lot in life is (financial or not). If the minister or anyone else pursues financial wealth they will end up destroying themselves and their witness. Is it any wonder that Jesus says we can’t love both God and money? Is it any wonder that despite their false use of Old Testament passages the super wealthy tele-evangelists/ministers are the laughing-stock of the world and much of the church? Jesus never pursued wealth, nor did Paul… they pursued the passion of God that all men might be saved! Paul ends the section by resting his case and referring to some people (that his readers may have know about) who had pursued wealth, wandered from the faith and made their lives miserable. That still happens today. And then Paul hones in on Timothy in Timothy in 6: 11 – 16 and says that he must run like crazy from this pursuit of wealth and pursue, fight for the kind of things (verse 11) that are in line with God and His passion.
And then as though restating the point but with a different target audience, Paul in 6: 17 – 19 commands Timothy to command those who are already wealthy to not hope in their wealth but in God who has provided them with all that they have to enjoy. But that enjoyment can only be true of in line with God’s passion to see the lost saved and so the rich are to use their wealth in Gospel good deeds – in that is the only joy and true reward.
And finally Paul impresses on Timothy again in 6: 20 – 21 that he must do everything to ensure that his ministry stays in line with and doesn’t wander from what Paul has entrusted to Him, which is what God is passionate about and that is the Gospel of salvation through Jesus alone!
Even today as Bible teachers and all Christians we must be eager not for wealth but for the Gospel of salvation through Jesus alone. Nothing else satisfies! Anything else corrupts and causes us to wander away from God’s passion to our destruction! Godliness with contentment is great gain.