What could be so wrong with desiring to be wealthy? Wouldn't all that money allow you to better take care of your family and help others in need? Go ahead and think this way, but before you commit your life to fulfilling your dream, you might want to take a quick peek at what awaits you, especially if you are a Christian and specifically if you are a Christian leader.
9But 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.
1 Timothy 6:9
Let's look at what is in store for anyone who sells out to being rich. First up is falling into temptation and a snare (trap), and falling into many foolish and hurtful (toxic and potentially lethal) lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. Jumping into the realm of great material wealth is like jumping into the ocean and expecting to take a casual swim for the rest of your life.
The ocean is full of dangerous things, any one of which could cause a person to drown before they knew what happened to them. Whether shark attacks, being carried away in a rip tide or dying of exposure; the ocean is no place for a novice to learn how to swim, just like the realm of high finance is not place for a naïve Christian to wander into.
Those whose lives are entirely devoted to the pursuit of material wealth end up drowning in the sea of destruction and perdition. The vast majority of people who succeed in making their fortune, end up destroyed and/or such a wicked and evil people they are hated and despised by everyone (including their family and themselves).
Destruction is the Greek word olethros which means utter and hopeless ruin and destruction. It is the unavoidable distress and torment of Divine punishment. Please look some time at where it is used in the New Testament in 1 Corinthians 5:5, 1 Thessalonians 5:3 and 2 Thessalonians 1:9.
Money changes people. Wealth turns nice generous Christians into arrogant, selfish and ugly people. What a shame that those who are worth the most (materially) end up being worthless spiritually. Money turns people into ravenous beasts who hoard what they have and spend all their time plotting to get more. This attitude about wealth ends up burying people alive and drowning them in utter and hopeless ruin.
Perdition is the Greek word apoleia which means loss, destruction and ruin. It is the loss of all a person ever had and might have had forever. It is an utter and final ruin which will not be reversed. This word, along with the related word apollumi are two of the strongest words in the Greek language that expresses final and irretrievable destruction.
Please let me quote from Dr. Spiros Zodhiates in The Complete Word Study Dictionary of the New Testament regarding the use of olethros and apolieia together in the same verse:
In 1 Timothy 6:9 the words olethros and apoleia occur together referring to those who determine to be rich. In this instance, olethros refers to the actual physical death of those who desire to be rich by any means (such as Judas, Ananias and Sapphira etc). Apoleia, on the other hand, refers to actual separation from God Himself, in fulfillment of our Savior's warnings that the rich will enter the Kingdom of heaven with much difficulty.
Occasionally a Christian can set out to be rich and upon succeeding in his quest, use that wealth to help people and further the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But, the overwhelming majority of those who devote themselves to becoming wealthy, end up turning away from the faith and in a state of separation from God and either physical or spiritual death.
In light of this, the question that must be asked is whether it is worth the risks involved to become a devotee of the religion of making money. Is it worth the risk of losing one's relationship with God and incurring His Divine punishment? I hope and pray not.
I don't think it too strong to say that one of the biggest threats to American Christians is materialism. The saddest aspect of that is that it has been exported to extremely poor nations around the world leading people in them to believe the lies. Phil
I agree with what Phil said. Materialism will bring you down and sadly enough, it is bringing down entire congregations. It doesn't stop there. We are indeed exporting it.