I Timothy Chapter VIb
Biblical Translation: The Orthodox New Testament Vol. II., Holy Apostles Convent, Buena Vista, CO, 1999
6But piety with sufficiency is a great means of gain. 7For we brought nothing into the world, and it is manifest that neither are we able to carry anything out; 8but having sustenance and coverings, we shall be satisfied with these.
God does not “bless” us with external comforts for being pious.
Saint Chrysostom: “‘Piety with sufficiency is a great means of gain’ not whenever it possesses wealth, but whenever it has not. For that he may not fall into despondency on account of his poverty, he raises him up and restores him. They suppose, says he, that godliness is a means of gain, and so it is; only not in their way, but in a much greater way. He demolishes their way, and then lifts up the other. For that worldly gain is nothing, is manifest, because it is left behind, and does not attend us, or go along with us at our departure. Whence is this plain? Because we had nothing when we came into this world, therefore we shall have nothing when we depart from it. For nature came naked into the world, and naked she will go out of it. Therefore we want no superfluities.”
On Avarice – greediness
John Climacus: “Avarice, or love of money, is the worship of idols, a daughter of unbelief…he who mourns for himself has also renounced his body; and, at the appropriate time, he does not spare it….Great is he who piously renounces his possessions, but holy is he who renounces his will…Unwavering faith cuts off cares, and remembrance of death denies the body as well…with the help of one virtue, some have escaped all the passions just mentioned. This virtue is called detachment, and it is born of experience and a taste of God, and concern for the account to be given at death.”
9Now they who wish to be rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires, which sink men into destruction and perdition. 10For the love of money is a root of all evils, by which some, reaching out for themselves, were led astray from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
Love of money is the root of all evils
John Climacus: “The love of money is the root of all evils, because it produces hatred, thefts, envy, separations, enmities, storms, remembrance of wrongs, hard-heartedness, murders.”
On desiring to become rich
Chrysostom: “For a man may have money and make a good use of it, not overvaluing it, but bestowing it upon the poor. Such therefore he does not blame, but the covetous.”
A life of sorrows
Chrysostom: “Two things he mentions, and that which to them might seem the more weighty he places last, their "many sorrows." And to learn how true this is, the only way is to sojourn with the rich, to see how many are their sorrows, how bitter their complaints.”
On Foolish Desires:
Chrysostom: “And is it not a foolish desire, when men like to keep idiots and dwarfs, not from benevolent motives, but for their pleasure, when they have receptacles for fishes in their halls, when they bring up wild beasts, when they give their time to dogs, and dress up horses, and are as fond of them as of their children? All these things are foolish and superfluous, nowise necessary, nowise useful.”
Desires are “thorns:
Chrysostom: “Desires are thorns, and as when one touches thorns, he gores his hand, and gets him wounds, so he that falls into these lusts will be wounded by them, and pierce his soul with griefs. And what cares and troubles attend those who are thus pierced, it is not possible to express.”
11But you, O man of God, be fleeing these things; and be pursuing righteousness, piety, faith, love, patience, meekness.
Cut off the temptation and redirect the will to that which is good
Chrysostom: “This is a title of great dignity. For we are all men of God, but the righteous particularly so, not by right of creation only, but by that of appropriation. If then thou art a ‘man of God,’ seek not superfluous things, which lead you not to God, but ‘Flee these things, and follow after righteousness.’ Both expressions are emphatic; he does not say turn from one, and approach the other, but ‘flee these things, pursue righteousness, so as not to be covetous.’
The virtues (works) that salvation produces
‘Piety’ that is, soundness in doctrines. ‘Faith,’ which is opposed to questionings. ‘Love, patience, meekness.’”
12Keep on fighting the good fight of the faith. Be laying hold of eternal life, to which you were also called, and did confess the good confession before many witnesses.
Keep on fighting : Chrysostom
Patience, Contention, Toils- living victoriously
“There is need not only of profession, but of patience also to persevere in that profession, and of vehement contention, and of numberless toils, that you be not overthrown.
Stumbling blocks, Impediments – the narrow way
For many are the stumbling-blocks, and impediments, therefore the way is ‘strait and narrow.’ (Matt. vii. 14.)
Love the pleasures of Truth,
It is necessary therefore to be self-collected, and well girt on every side. All around appear pleasures attracting the eyes of the soul. Those of beauty, of wealth, of luxury, of indolence, of glory, of revenge, of power, of dominion, and these are all fair and lovely in appearance, and able to captivate those who are unsteady, and who do not love the truth. For truth has but a severe and uninviting countenance. And why? Because the pleasures that she promises are all future, whereas the others hold out present honors and delights, and repose; though all are false and counterfeit…those who look steadfastly to the crown sustain blows without number. For they are supported and roused to action by the hope of future reward.”