RICH IN GOOD DEEDS
Lord, keep my eyes on You and not on earthly accumulations.
Read 1 TIMOTHY 6:17–21
17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.
20 Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, 21 which some have professed and in so doing have departed from the faith.
Grace be with you all.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Thank God for those who have been generous and hospitable to you (particularly in church). In what ways might generosity and hospitality play a greater role in your life?
Throughout the letter, we’ve seen the tensions around money in the Ephesian church: rich women dressing ostentatiously at worship; so many widows receiving support that it has become burdensome; the need to reinstate the practice of supporting elders financially; and the need to emphasize the proper attitude toward money for leadership because wrong attitudes have derailed certain key leaders. Money is a divisive issue in Ephesus.
Paul commands Timothy to address the rich. It’s a command because it’s rarely easy to speak truth to the powerful, especially when your livelihood depends to an extent on their generosity. The wealthy possess not just money but influence. They’re used to being listened to rather than doing the listening. So, Timothy is given no choice: he must do this. The rich are to be commanded not to be arrogant. It’s a subtle temptation: when you’re treated more favorably because you’re rich, you incrementally tend to consider such treatment as your right. It’s difficult for the rich not to become at least a little arrogant over time.
Timothy must remind the rich that life contains an eternal dimension (7): too much trust in wealth risks undermining their trust in God, the source of all present enjoyment and blessing. They must use their wealth in a way that doesn’t hinder their eternal calling (19). Cultivating generosity, assisting the needy within the fellowship and being willing to serve in humble, shared tasks are all ways to ensure that God, rather than wealth, remains their focus (18). Not only will this enhance humility, but handling their wealth in a servant-hearted way will also reduce the tension around money within the church.
Money can divide families and churches. Are there any areas in your life or at church where money has become divisive? Pray that God will show you the way forward.
Lord, help the leadership in our church to be examples to the flock where the proper use of church money is under consideration.