This seems pretty timely. The economy goes up and down. That creates a lot of uncertainty. A lot of us trust in it our 401(k). In financial trouble? Whip out the credit card. In credit we trust.
Better to trust in God who provides for us according to His richness. We should be rich in good deeds. We should be generous.
- We should share with those in need.
- Then there is God’s economy.
- It is certain. It will never evaporate from in front of our eyes.
- God’s goal is for us to trust in God.
God’s economy does not need a bailout. He is in a good mood. He is generous. He has plenty to go around.
As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.
English Standard Version. (2016). (1 Timothy 6:17–19). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
Paul had already written about the danger of the love of money, but he added a special “charge” for Timothy to give to the rich. We may not think that this charge applies to us, but it does. After all, our standard of living today would certainly make us “rich” in the eyes of Timothy’s congregation!
Be humble: If wealth makes a person proud, then he understands neither himself nor his wealth.
- “But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God; for it is He that gives thee power to get wealth” (Deut. 8:18).
- We are not owners; we are stewards. If we have wealth, it is by the goodness of God and not because of any special merits on our part.
- The possessing of material wealth ought to humble a person and cause him to glorify God, not himself.
It possible to be “rich in the world [age]” and be poor in the next. It is also possible to be poor in this world and rich in the next. Jesus talked about both (Luke 16:19–31). But a believer can be rich in this world and also rich in the next if he uses what he has to honor God. In fact, a person who is poor in this world can use even his limited means to glorify God and discover great reward in the next world.
Trust God, not wealth: The rich farmer in our Master’s parable thought that his wealth meant security, when really it was an evidence of insecurity.
- He was not really trusting God. Riches are uncertain, not only in their value (which changes constantly), but also in their durability.
- Thieves can steal wealth, investments can drop in value, and the ravages of time can ruin houses and cars.
- If God gives us wealth, we should trust Him, the Giver, and not the gifts.
Enjoy what God gives you: Yes, the word enjoy is in the Bible! In fact, one of the recurring themes in Ecclesiastes is, “Enjoy the blessings of life now, because life will end one day”. This is not sinful “hedonism,” living for the pleasures of life. It is simply enjoying all that God gives us for His glory.
Employ what God gives you We should use our wealth to do good to others; we should share; we should put our money to work.
- When we do, we enrich ourselves spiritually, and we make investments for the future.
- “That they may lay hold on eternal life” (1 Tim. 6:19) does not suggest that these people are not saved.
- “That they may lay hold on the life that is real” would express it perfectly.
- Riches can lure a person into a make-believe world of shallow pleasure.
- But riches plus God’s will, can introduce a person to life that is real and ministry that is lasting.
Paul’s final sentence was not for Timothy alone, because the pronoun is plural: “Grace be with all of you.” Paul had the entire church in mind when he wrote this letter, and certainly all the elders, not just Timothy. As leader of the church, Timothy needed to heed the word of the apostle; but all his church members had a responsibility to hear and obey as well.
And so do we today.