Summary: A series exploring body life behaviors encouraged by Paul in I Timothy. This message explores admonishments to those of us with money to learn to live generously.
Anyone have to fill up your car this week with gas? Did you find it painful? Anyone top $50? Well, let me ease your pain just a bit. If you think a gallon of gas is expensive, let me put things in perspective.
A Diet Snapple - 16 oz. for $1.29 or $10.32 per gallon
Lipton Ice Tea - 16 oz. for $1.19 or $9.52 per gallon
Gatorade - 20 oz. for $1.59 or $10.17 per gallon
Brake Fluid, not to drink, but for your car - 12 oz. for $3.15 or $33.60 per gallon
Vick’s Nyquil, or Wesleyan moonshine - 6 oz. for $8.35 or $178.13 per gallon
Pepto Bismol - 4 oz. for $3.85 or $123.20 per gallon
Scope - 1.5 oz. for $0.99 or $84.48 per gallon
And here is a real kicker. . .
Evian water - 9 oz. for $1.49 or $21.19 per gallon?! For water!
I value my job way too much to share the numbers for a latte or frapachino at Starbrucks. But the next time you’re at the pump, be glad your car doesn’t run on espresso, water, Scope, or Nyquil.
It is 62 A.D. The apostle Paul has been imprisoned in Macedonia, or modern day Greece I believe, though my geography leaves something to be desired. As he spends time in prayer and reflection, he takes time to write, or dictate correspondence to one of his interns. A young man that actually came into a saving relationship with Christ during one of Paul’s earlier crusades. Now, this young man has been left in Ephesus to assist a new church there facing some growing pains.
And Paul writes that he hopes to visit soon, but in case he is delayed, there are some things he needs to make sure young Timothy knows and teaches about how the body of Christ should live. What the church should look like, in action and belief. How Christians are to behave like believers.
He addresses a number of things in this letter to Timothy. And among the various items. . .he addresses money. Turn in your Bibles with me to the book of 1 Timothy, chapter 6. Take out your worship folder that includes a message outline on the back, and something to write with as we work through this passage today. I Timothy 6:17 (read through verse 19).
Years ago there was a Chicago radio station that offered $10,000 to the individual who could devise the most outlandish way to get the money. More than 6,000 people responded to the challenge.
The eventual winner was Jay Gwaltney of Zionsville, Indiana. His home state will make perfectly good sense to you after you hear that he consumed an 11-foot birch sapling. Leaves, roots, bark, everything. For the big moment he wore a tuxedo and dined at a table eloquently set with fine china, sterling silverware, candles and a rose vase.
Armed with pruning sheers, the Indiana State University sophomore began chomping - starting from the top of the tree - and working his way down, branch by branch, to the roots. The only extra flavoring he used was some French dressing for a massive birch-leaf salad.
Consuming the tree took him 18 hours over a period of three days. All for $10,000, before taxes we can assume.
How predictable. Paul could have predicated it. Look what he wrote earlier in this letter to Timothy. Chapter 6, verse 9 (read through verse 10).
Now, eating a tree sapling might seem to be foolish, but there are people who would apparently do even more than that to get money! I have shared these numbers before, but it bears repeating today. In their book, The Day America Told the Truth, authors James Patterson and Peter Kim revealed some shocking statistics on how far people in this country would be willing to go for money. When asked what they’d do for $10 million dollars:
(25%) Would abandon their entire family
(23%) Would become prostitutes for a week or more
(16%) Would give up their American citizenship
(16%) Would leave their spouses
(10%) Would withhold testimony and let a murderer go free
(7%) Would kill a stranger
(3%) Would put their children up for adoption
As one cynic put it: “everyone has their price.” And as the above survey indicates, some people will sell just about anything to gain financial security. But, certainly not Christians. Christians wouldn’t act like that. Christians wouldn’t have “a price” for which they’d sell themselves, would they? We know how to behave like believers, right?
Not based on what Paul has already seen. "Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs." (I Timothy 6:10)
What Paul was saying was that already there were some Christians who had walked away from their faith, their relationship with God for financial gain. They traded eternal wealth, for cash. And in the end they would realize what they had lost.