God, incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to covetousness. Amen.
Timothy 6, 9-12. But they that will be rich, fall into temptation, and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil; which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.
Nothing else destroys the heart like the love of money; nothing else is so sure to kill man’s every noble instinct, and bar love out of his soul. It is a blessing to have enough to live on, and to escape worry on that score; and it is right to work for it, and to manage in such a way that one does not defraud anybody, nor live by the sweat of others. To practice industry and economy is praiseworthy; but we find it so easy to go beyond bounds. Generosity becomes lavish extravagance, and thrift become covetousness. Let thrift beware lest it be caught in this net. What a sad hallucination it is! A man covets gold, in order that he may be happy; and thus he casts himself into temptation and all manner of foolish lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. He labors to satisfy his thirst for riches, that it may be well with him; while in reality he thereby fosters the root of all evil; of sin, and disquietude, and heartlessness, and vexation, and eternal misery. In this respect also the way of life is narrow; so narrow that we can not get through without the assistance of the God who works wonders. Every self-dependent man of honor and conscience desires to have enough, and something to spare for the furtherance of every good cause; but if it be his ambition to become rich, he errs from the faith, becomes an idolater, and pierces himself through from all sides with every manner of sorrow. God help us and save us from this snare of Satan! Does not a Christian have something else than these corruptible treasures after which to follow? Let the children of the world, who know of nothing higher, covet earthly riches and its sorrows; but you, O man of God, flee these things! Rather follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness! These are incorruptible wealth, and make you rich indeed. Let the unbelievers fight over the golden dross; do you fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto you are also called, and have professed a good profession before many witnesses! Do not forget that you are in the Lord’s army, and that you stand on the battlefield in the midst of a cloud of witnesses! Will you be false to your oath of allegiance to Christ, and will you, instead of laying hold on your heritage of eternal life, chase the delusive phantom of earthly riches?
God, help us to run with patience and self-denial the race that is set before us. Graciously deliver us from the temptation to covetousness, and keep us in faith unto the end. Make us zealous in our holy covenant with thee, and make us strong to fight the good fight of faith. Amen.
Watch against the devil’s snares,
Lest asleep he find thee;
For, indeed, no pains he spares
To deceive and blind thee;
Satan’s prey oft are they
Who, securely sleeping,
No good watch are keeping.
But while watching, also see
That thou pray unceasing,
For the Lord must make thee free,
Strength and faith increasing.
So to do service true;
Let not sloth enslave thee;
Pray, and God will save thee.