“Click-bait” describes what social media personalities do to produce content designed to generate more clicks on their account. If they have a monetized account, they make more money off of the number of “hits” on their work.
Making money off of information is not new. It was a problem in first-century Corinth and Ephesus, to name two major cities among many where it took place.
Paul knew of certain teachers who imagined “that godliness is a means of gain” (1 Timothy 6.5b).
The aim of the teachers was personal financial gain, not necessarily spiritual depth.
We aren’t surprised to note that Paul opposed such practices.
He addressed the false teachers’ motives and put godliness in the right context.
Of course, there is great gain in godliness combined with contentment,
For we brought nothing into the world, so that we can take nothing out of it, but if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these (1 Timothy 6.6-8).
Godliness and Contentment
Dallas Willard’s definition of godliness as living a Jesus-kind-of-life is a perfect way to think about that aspiration.
Contentment refers to self-rule, self-satisfaction, contentment, and someone who has sufficiency in God and is content in life.
Paul strove for godliness and experienced contentment in a relationship with the Lord.
He said, “I have learned to be content with whatever I have.
“I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need.
“I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4.11-13).
If we strive to live a life like Jesus, we will experience the kind of contentment that Paul described.
Possessed by Possessions
Instead of finding freedom in wealth, many find slavery. Paul alerted followers of Jesus to the danger of seeking wealth.
But those who want to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains (1 Timothy 6.9-10).
I listened to four journalists from the United Kingdom talk about nations who are willing to do business with corrupt and oppressive nations. One comment startled and disturbed me.
They said, “Nations believe that financial relationships are more powerful than morality.”
Everyone who believes that money is more important than morality should pay attention to Paul’s thoughts.
(1) The pursuit of money is a source of ruin and destruction for individuals and nations.
Historically, it has been the root of oppression and misery for multitudes.
(2) Christians who love money more than God should consider whether their desire for money has led them away from the faith.
(3) Not only does an unhealthy desire for wealth harm others, but it also destroys the inner life of a believer.
One of the leading fathers of the faith, John Chrysostom, accurately described the role of money.
As you finish this article, consider his words: “Take away the love of money, and you put an end to war, to battle, to strife, and contention.”
Rudy Ross and I talk about this passage today on YouTube. You can see the video on the Bob Spradling channel.
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