By Ashley Thaba
THIS is a popular verse which is misquoted from the Bible. I thought, in light of all the riots, looting, evil, and greed going on around me. It comes from 1 Timothy 6. Below are pasted verses 4-10 in order for you to read them in their original context.
“They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicion and constant friction between people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain. But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.
“Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”
There is nothing new under the sun. Greed is not new. Stealing is not new. What is astounding is that we allow ourselves to be deceived by the enemy who seeks to steal, kill, and destroy us when we have the benefit of hindsight to see the dangers of these characteristics.
My deepest prayer is that God would grant us wisdom to know that whether we are stealing on an economic level (bribes, corrupt business deals, cheating consumers, abuse of political power, etc) or on a “hard crime” level (home robberies, looting, smash and grabs of cars, etc) — it is all motivated by selfishness and greed and it will destroy us!
From the President to the person selling sweets on the roadside, we are all interconnected. We share the roads, water, electricity, food, medical supplies, etc.
And hear me on this very important point —we share… our church pews and the same Saviour! How sad to know so many who love money so much they would be driven to evil actually profess Christianity!
They put the bumper sticker on their car that they love a Jesus who died to set us free from this mindset of slavery and selfishness! They wear the cross as they slide the brown envelope across the desk to seal the deal or break the window of the store they are looting.
He came to gift us with a Heavenly Father who owns the cattle on a thousand hills and allows us to share in His inheritance!
Although it might seem that one is more important than the other, in a community each person and each position holds us all together in a delicate balance. We need each other! We should be a family! The sad thing is instead of understanding this and loving one another, our first response is consistent with this Bible verse above — envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicion and constant friction. Please may God grant you wisdom to not be deceived by the enemy who wants to steal, kill, and destroy.
Proverbs 10:12, “Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs.”
There is a solution to the crazy we find ourselves in. It is love. So simple yet so very difficult! Why? Because we are all, myself included, so selfish. Our inclination is to hoard for ourselves. Our nature is to turn a blind eye to the suffering until one day our silence in the face of evil brought that very evil to our home. Our nature is not to trust God but to trust our tricks and our corrupt ways. We want to secure a future for our family even if that is at the expense of destroying others. It will never give us the joy, peace, and security we seek. Never!
Even if we succeed in getting more money in our bank account, more furniture in our home, or more cars in our garage — if we get these by unrighteous means, our home will be full of strife, our marriages will be rocky, our mind will be full of worry, our head will ache, our stomach will get ulcers, our family will not trust and respect us, our sleep will be restless, and our stress levels will rob us of the peace and happiness we seek.
There is a solution. You can’t change the world. But, you can change yourself. We will talk more next week about it, but for today let me give you the summary — repent. Stop doing evil. Return what you have taken. Choose to ask Jesus to give you faith in Him for your provisions and not your evil ways. Ask God’s Spirit to give you love instead of hate for those around you. Ask God for wisdom in the position you are in within our community to use your position to help others instead of hurting them. We each have a part to play in these dreadfully tragic times.
May God give us wisdom to self-introspect and to begin to understand that the greatest gift of all is love and the solution to all this is selflessness… not selfishness.
- Ashley Thaba is a life-coach, team-building facilitator and motivational speaker