Paul writes in 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.” I like the way the New American Standard Bible reads here — “a root” instead of “the root,” as it is translated elsewhere. It is silly to suggest that the love of money is “the” cause of evil in this world. But it is certainly “a” cause — and one that rears its ugly head in all sorts of circumstances.
On March 20, 1925, an Anglican priest named Frederick Lewis Donaldson preached a sermon centering around what he called the “7 Deadly Social Evils.” Through the help of what he called a “fair friend,” Mohandas Gandhi had the opportunity to reprint the list in his weekly newspaper. A few weeks before the Mahatma’s assassination, he gave a handwritten copy of the list to his grandson, Arun Gandhi. It was Arun Gandhi that brought the list to the world, publishing it after his grandfather’s death under the heading “Seven Blunders of the World.”
When Paul said goodbye to the Ephesian elders in Miletus, he told them he knew he would never see their faces again (Acts 20:25). However, his dealings with the church at Ephesus were not entirely completed, according to 1 Timothy 1:3, If we believe Paul was guided by inspiration in Miletus, we have to take him at his word. That means the church at Ephesus during Paul’s third preaching tour was dramatically different from the one with which Timothy was working just six or seven years later.
This time of year, most of us have cultural, familial, and guilt-induced obligations to bestow gifts on various ones near and (to one degree or another) dear to us. For the Hammons family, thankfully, our holiday shopping is just about concluded. (I deceive. Apologies. Tracie’s holiday shopping is just about concluded.)
But I keep hearing talk about Jesus being “the reason for the season.” I like Kylie’s response to that saying — “That’s ridiculous,” she says. “Jesus is the reason for everything.” (They do make you proud, don’t they?)
Full disclosure: I am the last person you should go to for reliable information on the lottery. I deliberately avoid these stories — not because I want to limit my exposure to temptations of the flesh, but rather because I detest stupidity and because I wish to expect the best out of my fellow Americans.
That said, the figure $1.5 billion grabs the attention of even the most callous of ‘net-surfers. So I poked around a bit.
When Balaam stubbornly refused to curse the people of God, Balak was furious. He was prepared to pay Balaam big money — and judging from the number of meetings Balaam took with Balak, Balaam was more than willing to accommodate him. But, as Balaam told Balak, that’s not the way inspiration works — “Did I not tell your messengers whom you had sent to me, saying, ‘Though Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not do anything contrary to the command of the LORD, either good or bad, of my own accord. What the LORD speaks, that I will speak’?” (Numbers 24:12-13).