True Riches:#2 “Filthy Lucre.”

True Riches:#2 “Filthy Lucre.”

The term ‘Filthy lucre’ survives only in the minds of the old and those who use the King James Bible. Despite its archaic nature, the term invariably causes someone to quote: “Money is the root of all evil.” You have to smile, because at that point someone will always correct this misquote with: “The love of money is the root of all evil” (1Tim.6:10).You can do your own straw poll, but my guess is that it is only middleclass Christians who bother with the correction. I am not suggesting that the poor, or the broke, do not give thought to the ‘love of money,’ it’s just that they know that it is a waste of time arguing semantics over something they do not have. However, ‘filthy lucre’ is all inclusive. Dishonest gain can be desired and had at all levels of society. Churches must be free of those who are financially dishonest. When a brand-new Christian, a preacher’s wife told me of Christians she knew who were threatened with legal action by a dishonest landlord who attended a congregation near them. I was stunned when I heard it.Paul warns that such men must be prevented from making their way into leadership. He includes this as a qualification for eldership: “not greedy of filthy lucre” (1Tim.3:3; Titus 1:7). Any hint of a life including unethical behaviour disqualifies him from being an elder or a deacon (1Tim.3:8).Peter, a preacher-elder, worthy of what Paul calls ‘double honour’—i.e. pay for preaching (1Tim.5:17), tells his fellow elders that their oversight of the church be “not for filthy lucre” (1Pet.5:2).It goes without saying that there seems always to be a ‘quick buck’ to be made in false teaching. Paul described in blunt terms, not only how Titus was to deal with the Jewish deceivers in the church on Crete, but their modus operandi and motivations: “Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake” (Titus 1:11).God has blessed us richly with much honest gain—Resources to be used to His Glory and the building up of the Kingdom of Christ.

John Staiger

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