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.
1 TIMOTHY 6:17–19
God knew material wealth would be a challenge for people and this is why so many words are offered to help us understand the rightful place of money and wealth in our lives. You might be tempted to pass over these words from Paul because you do not consider yourself rich in this present age. And to be honest, I have had those thoughts. However, I recently had to sit with the understanding that I live, work, and worship in the second richest county in the richest country in the world. Yes, I am rich and very rich compared to the vast majority of God’s people in this present age. So these words were written for me and for you – for us.
Paul is reminding us that all we have is given to us freely by God for our own good pleasure. He is not saying that it is a bad thing to be rich – it is fine to enjoy what God has blessed us with as long as we do so with the right attitude. All our blessings of riches come from God for our good and for His glory. If we place our hope in that which we own and our material wealth and not in the One who provided it all to us, we will find ourselves worshipping that which God created and hoping in the uncertainty of riches and not God himself. And this is exactly what concerns Paul and why he penned these words.
There is a great responsibility for those who are rich. Paul tells us that one way to reinforce the understanding that we do not have our hope in our own riches is to be rich (abounding) in good works, to give generously, and to be ready to share. The amazing thing about living this way is that in doing so we are a blessing to other people and a witness for God’s glory. We know from the days of the early church that God’s desire for His people is to share generously, to care for those around them, and to lay a foundation for those to come with the purpose of pointing people to Jesus. In today’s culture it seems counter-intuitive to realize that it is in the giving away of our riches that we are blessed beyond measure so that we may take hold of that which is truly life (v.19) – eternal life with God, the giver of all good gifts.
- As a follower of Christ, how does living with an awareness of the richness of God in your life lead you to be abounding in good works, and to generously share in order to spread God’s kingdom in your community and your world?
Today’s devotional was prayed over and prepared by Kathy Petersen, Sr. Director of Adult Ministry