1 Timothy 6:17-19
17 Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. 18 Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, 19 storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed.
I have absolutely and immediately fallen in love with this passage. Of all the “money talk” in the bible, I feel as though I have never seen this one. The previous part that Paul talked about in What is Joy? Is qualified and clarified here. I believe much of the world has skipped over this passage, Christians and non-Christians alike. What is Paul telling Timothy (and us)? It’s not about the money.
I say that “tongue in cheek” because we use that phrase often. Especially during the holiday season, we tend to have this tug of war between buying presents, receiving present, remembering the “reason for the season” and “keep Christ in Christmas”. I’m certainly not trying to knock all of that. Whatever your flavor is for the holiday season, enjoy it. Don’t burden yourself with dos and don’ts of holiday legalism and self-righteousness.
I feel like today’s American Christians are caught between having enough money to survive and justifying when we are in surplus. We feel as though we have to defend our positions because “God wants us to live in joy and abundance” but “God tells us to give to others who are less fortunate”. Yes, He says both, actually. Paul here is making this point.
It isn’t about how much money you have or don’t have. It isn’t about necessarily why you have it or what you do with it. Paul is reminding us here that regardless of the amount of money we have, we shouldn’t be relying on it for security and happiness. If we have a lot, we tend to feel secure because we have it. If we do not have a lot, we can have an attitude of striving to get more. Sometimes we have a lot and continue striving to get more. I mentioned the other day the conundrum of trying to store up treasures in heaven, as a distortion of Jesus’ words in regards to money and treasure of this world. We neglect what comes after that though, “Seek first the kingdom of God.”
In verse 19, Paul closes his thoughts on money by telling us why he says these things. If we focus on God and the security He provides, we don’t have to worry about anything else. If we focus on money and riches of this world, we are actually prohibiting ourselves from living the plentiful life He has offered to us. We don’t have to worry about our future security if we fix our eyes on Jesus! As we focus on Christ, our hearts change that will result in what we see in verse 18: rich in good works and generosity. Our foundation, our inheritance, our future is secured in God and therefore no amount of money will affect it, regardless of the amount.
We become enamored with securing money for one reason or another. However, we get caught up in securing more and more that we never get to fully enjoy because once we start doing that, we have to get more to replace what we spent! God calls us to a higher level. His riches can never run out and they are far more exuberant and plentiful than anything we can imagine in this world. Additionally, you can start enjoying them now! Too often we think that all these wonderful things about the Kingdom of God are a lifetime away but He wants to pour them out on us NOW.
He’s waiting to give it to you, will you take it?