“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. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 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” (1 Timothy 6:17-19).
We just heard a news report describing the horrific living conditions in South Sudan. This prompted a study of the country which is typically ranked near the very bottom in any livability spectrum. South Sudan deals with poor medical conditions, famine, civil war, drought, religious persecution, you name it. It is home to some of the world’s most impoverished people. Many years ago we befriended two boys that were among the “Lost Boys Of Sudan” who had made it to the US and worked at the Turkey Hill Dairy where we served as chaplains at the time. What a dramatic story they had.
Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, is one of the richest people in the world. Our lives partially intersect in that, like us, he is also a 1973 high school graduate. There’s a tendency to reckon my wealth by making a comparison to Bill Gates which can make me feel fairly “poor”. However as we prayed for the people in South Sudan (and really many other parts of the world) I realized that my life has been way more like Bill Gates than people living in countries like South Sudan. We even wonder how many born in the mid-fifties would still be alive.
In 1 Timothy 6 Paul gives instructions to those who want to be rich (1 Timothy 6:9,10) and to those who are rich (1 Timothy 6:17-19). You can self-assess and take whichever instruction appropriate but we feel there’s good advice here for all! Today we focus on a condition virtually all our readers are in, especially in comparison to South Sudan. We are “rich in this present world”!
The adjective “present” that precedes world is not accidental. It reminds us of the temporal state of this world, in contrast with the eternal life referred to in verse 19.
We often hear about “financial security”. Millions aspire to have financial security; being set for life. Although planning for our temporal future is prudent, most give little to no attention to their eternal future. Notice especially the phrase, “wealth, which is so uncertain”.
Today’s generation desperately needs to hear this. The world’s wealth will always be uncertain as is proven in the history books and in our own lifetime. Nevertheless so many focus their life on bigger homes, cars, more toys, bigger bank accounts, retirement savings, etc. But ultimately there is no “financial security”. Jesus spoke of a man who thought he had it when he kept building bigger barns, but God called him a fool (Luke 12:16-21).
Today let us put our hope in God and thankfully rejoice in all He has richly provided for our enjoyment. Our ultimate security is in God alone! Let us exclaim with the Psalmist David, “Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from Him” (Psalm 62:5).
We are commanded “to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.”
The daily Scripture portion ends with a wonderful promise. “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.” Let us ever keep before us the acknowledgment of the life that is truly life!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, help me not to strive for worldly riches that would cause me to place my hope in material wealth that is only temporal. I know that money cannot buy love, joy, peace, forgiveness or lasting security. I cannot expect my riches to fulfill my greatest need since money cannot solve matters of the heart, but You do. For the riches You have entrusted to me I want to be wise, accountable, and generous toward those who have less, all the while laying up treasures in heaven that await me once I get to my final and lasting home. Amen.
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