Thursday, May 29, 2014

Guard what you have - 1st Timothy 6:17-21

"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. Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, 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. O Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you, avoiding worldly and empty chatter and the opposing arguments of what is falsely called "knowledge" —  which some have professed and thus gone astray from the faith. Grace be with you." (1 Timothy 6:17-21)
There is no sin in being rich, especially when those riches have been justly earned. However, being rich presents its own dangers. When you are rich, it can seem that you are in a commanding position in this life; able to direct and control the affairs of life. When a problem arises, money often seems to be the answer, buying us our of any danger, loss, or necessity. It is the poor who struggle with the necessities of life, not the rich, their problem is not food and shelter, but what kind of food and shelter they will have. It is not, "where will we live tonight?" that is there problem but whether or not they will be able to buy a house that will be fitting of their stature and will show them off as doing well among their peers. Certainly not all rich live in this manor, but this temptation is common to all who perceive themselves as having wealth.

Again, the problem is not riches or wealth or money, the problem is the love of such things. When we love riches more than people, then we are truly the most impoverished of all. Paul instructs Timothy to teach the rich not to look to or boast in their riches, like King David did when he counted his fighting men that he might boast in his strength; an act for which he was justly judged. Money can buy us out of many tight places, but it cannot buy us love, happiness, or eternal life. Riches can aid in life, but they cannot give us life. To those who are rich, Paul teaches them that it is God who has given them their wealth both to enjoy and to "do good." God does not intend us to give away all our possessions that we may all be equally poor, rather He certainly intends us to enjoy and rejoice in what He has given us. However, there is an even greater joy that is found when we learn to use our gifts in helping others, in doing good with what God has given us. When we use God's gifts to benefit others we are building for ourselves a strong foundation of sure footing that will withstand and preserve us through the storms yet to come. There are some things for which money cannot defend us, but generosity can.

Finally, Paul warns Timothy to guard what has been given to him. It is possible to squander the gift of God; to loose what God has given us through neglect, distraction, and disinterest. Timothy was gifted in teaching God's words, but Paul warns him of becoming distracted by worldly arguments and wrangling over words. It would be so easy for him to become caught up is the arguments of others to the point where he would loose sight of what he was truly called to do. Timothy was called to teach God's word, not argue with others. It is like when Nehemiah was rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem and the leaders of the surrounding area wanted to have a meeting with him to discuss what he was doing in hopes of stopping him from rebuilding the walls. Nehemiah 's response was, "I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and come down to you?" (Nehemiah 6:3) We cannot afford to loose our focus or to be distracted from our course in life. When we let the world, and others, set the agenda for our life, the end result is never good. Some, yielding to the will of others, and to the temptations of the world, have even sunk to the depths of shipwreck. We must guard what has been given to us.

David Robison

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