By Judy Brandon
The word “values” can be used in two ways.
First, it can denote money or worth attached to something. For instance, there are used car values, commercial property values, housing values and values of expensive and rare art.
Then the word “values” can be used to designate significant personal beliefs. We think of family values, traditional values, personal core values and common sense values.
Advice on both these kinds of values abounds. There are scores of books at any bookstore on defining personal values. People attend seminars to sort through and clarify personal values. Then again, there are many books outlining financial steps to become a millionaire, as well as books on how to make more money than last year. People even attend seminars to learn to invest and make more money.
Yet, the Apostle Paul had a different take on values when he wrote young Timothy. Paul mixed the two — core personal beliefs and monetary. His letter to Timothy is appropriate for all of us, especially as we sift through priorities and make resolutions for the New Year.
Paul was writing to young Timothy because Timothy was a fellow worker in the cause of the Gospel. He wanted to explain to him there were values in life more important than money.
Then Paul mentioned something that we all should keep in mind. Paul started with the beginning of life and reminded Timothy that we can bring nothing into the world and we can take nothing out of the world. Everything accumulated while in the world, all those acquisitions, are left behind when we die.
Then Paul talked about values that bring real contentment. He wrote Timothy that people can be content with just food and clothing — imagine that. Paul claimed that when a person is totally focused on getting rich, it leads to temptation, and that temptation is an entrapment that sets off foolish desires.
Paul pointed out to Timothy that money is not the root of all evil. Rather, the love of money, the obsession with it, is the root of all evil. He wrote that when some people are eager for more money, they get involved in activities and schemes that lead to their ultimate downfall. As a result, they cause themselves much grief.
But what should we be focused on in this life? Paul’s words here are good for us all. Paul also told Timothy to pursue these types of values: righteousness, godliness, faith, love endurance and gentleness. Paul wrote: “Tell those rich in this world’s wealth to quit being so full of themselves and so obsessed with money, which is here today and gone tomorrow. Tell them to go after God, who piles on all the riches we could ever manage — to do good, to be rich in helping others, to be extravagantly generous. If they do that, they’ll build a treasury that will last, gaining life that is truly life” (1 Timothy 6: 17-18).
Some more modern-day people have had the same idea of sorts that Paul wrote to young Timothy. Mother Teresa said, “Let us not be satisfied with just giving money. Money is not enough, money can be got, but they need your hearts to love them. So spread you love everywhere you go.”
The year 2007 is an unknown journey before us, and Paul’s words to young Timothy are valuable for all of us as we travel through 2007.
Judy Brandon is a Clovis resident. Contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org