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Devotional by Ray Stedman – The Cost Of Riches – A daily devotion for November 17

Topic:The Cost Of Riches

People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction.
1 Timothy 6:9

Paul is telling us how, in every age, this subtle peril lays hold of our hearts. First it comes in the form of simple temptation. Open a magazine, and there is a picture of a gorgeous automobile. It makes you drool to look at it. Walk into the mall, and it is sitting on display in the center. You can go up and touch it, sit in it, and imagine yourself driving it. Your neighbors have one sitting in their driveway. Every Sunday morning they are out washing it, lifting up its hood, and spending a great deal of money on expensive accessories.

That is temptation, and that is what we are up against. It creates in us a hunger to have what others have. We all feel the force and power of this. It would feel so natural for us to own a car like this, especially when we are constantly being told that we deserve it; we are that kind of people. It is amazing how easily we can convince ourselves that we, like everybody else, have a right to things.

But that is not the worst. There is another stage. Paul says that those who want to be rich fall into a… trap. Notice where the emphasis is: It is on the desire to be rich. It is the love of money, not money, that is the root of all evil. We hear all the time that money is the root of all evil, but it is not. Money is a very necessary commodity in life; it is impossible to get along without using money in one form or another. It is the love of money that the Scripture is talking about, the desire to have more and more of it, the craving for riches, the constant planning of how to get another buck.

You say, What is a young man with a family supposed to do? Isn’t he supposed to try to provide for them? Yes, he is, but what is his objective? Is it to earn money, or is it to be a good, faithful worker, using his gifts and abilities to the fullest degree for the glory of God in the scene in which he is placed? That is something the world never thinks about.

Paul says that when you fall into temptation and give way to this lust for more things, you create a trap for yourself. By that, he means that your possessions will soon begin to possess you. Everyone who has had any success in obtaining some of the things they desire soon discovers this, because their possessions demand that they take care of them.

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Possessions also change your relationship with others. You discover that people are treating you differently because you have something that is a symbol of prestige or status. People no longer treat you for who you are; they are treating you for what you have, so you become suspicious of your friends and your friendships. All these complications occur when the love of money starts to possess you. That is the trap involved.

Thank You, Lord, for the practicality of these words. May they help me correct my viewpoints and resist the badgering, bloated misconceptions of the world around me.

Life Application
The love of money can be a costly addiction. Do we need to consider its corrosive effect in our lives, and the extended effect on our relationships with others?

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