The AMI QT Devotionals from October 16-22 are provided by Pastor Shan Gian, who serves as the Fenway site pastor of Symphony Church in Boston. Shan, a graduate of University of Pennsylvania and Gordon Conwell Seminary (M.Div.), is married to Jenny; and they are the proud parents of their first baby Tyler.
Devotional Thoughts for Today
So Abram went up from Egypt, he and his wife and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the Negeb. 2 Now Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold. 3 And he journeyed on from the Negeb as far as Bethel to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai, 4 to the place where he had made an altar at the first. And there Abram called upon the name of the Lord.
Many of us tend to have a paradoxical view of wealth and possessions. While so many people strive for greater and greater wealth, these same people feel contempt towards those who have great wealth. One example of this is how much people love the classic stories of Robin Hood. They are exciting and inspiring stories about the bravery of Robin Hood and his merry outlaws as they fight injustice. Robin Hood is a hero to most because he steals from the rich to give to the poor, yet people tend to ignore the fact that what he’s doing is theft; and since most people themselves would love to be rich, Robin Hood would be stealing from them!
Some have a negative view of the wealthy for a variety of reasons: perhaps we think of the wealthy as being conceited, selfish, or entitled. Yet at the same time, most people would love to have that problem.
In Genesis 13, it is made very clear that Abram is very rich. He is loaded with tons of livestock, silver and gold. If Abram were our neighbor, he would’ve been the one with the biggest house, the nicest cars, and the best clothes. But what we see about Abram’s life in this passage is far from any mental picture we have of conceited, rich people. Instead, we see from Genesis a man who is not defined by what he has but in whom he trusts with his life. He is not this selfish or entitled man who looks down on others or don’t have need for others; instead, we meet a man who trusted not in himself, but called upon the name of the Lord in worship.
Having lots of money or possessions is not inherently wrong or sinful, but they can lead us to be conceited or entitled if they define us and lead us away from trusting in God. In fact the opposite can be true as well: not having a lot of money and possessions can lead us away from trusting in God if in our lack, there is an unhealthy striving for more. The only way for us to have a healthy relationship with our possessions and wealth is to follow Abram’s example—and that is to call upon the name of the Lord and worship Him and Him alone. Let us not be defined by our possessions and wealth but let us seek to trust only in God!
Prayer: Jesus, I entrust my life to You today. I pray that I will not let myself be defined but what I have or don’t have, but instead, I will be defined by who You are and what You have done for me. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Acts 7
Lunch Break Study
Read 1 Timothy 6:6-10: But godliness with contentment is great gain, 7 for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. 8 But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. 9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.
Questions to Consider
- What is the biggest enemy of contentment, according to this passage?
- Verse 10 is often misquoted as saying that the “money is the root of all evil” instead of “the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.” There’s a slight difference in wording but there’s a drastic difference in meaning and application. What is the difference for our lives?
- How have you seen the love of money be a hindrance to your own walk with God? What steps can we take to be more content?
- The biggest enemy of contentment is the love of money—the desire to be rich. This love/desire is what plunges “people into ruin and destruction” and leads them away from faith.
- To say that “money is the root of all evil” implies that money itself is what corrupts us, which is wrong because is money is not inherently good or bad; rather, it is “love of money” that is the source of “all kinds of evil.” And that means that it is the sinful desires of our own hearts that is the source of many kinds of evil. Money is not the problem but it is our relationship with money that leads us away from contentment and trusting in God.
- Personal reflection question.
In what ways are you defining yourself by your possessions or wealth? The desire for more is something that we all struggle with and something that we all need to bring before God in prayer. Surrender your heart and desires to God and seek to trust in Him alone.