Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Are You Rich?

I'm not sure why this passage had never caught my attention before, but I was reading 1 Timothy 6 tonight and verses 17-19 jumped out at me.
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.
I feel like the church as a whole has not done a good job of instructing those who are rich as He commands. We have this idea that there are "missionaries" and there are "senders"... and I guess there is some truth to that, but 99% of us want to be the rich one that God enables to be a "sender". I know I am exaggerating, but you get my point. We are all called to be disciples and somehow we have decided that being "rich" enables us not to fulfill that command. In the name of "seeking to please God with our riches", we are actually fixing our hope on the uncertainty of riches! Our giving is rarely sacrificial... it is out of the abundance that He has given us. Sin is so often disguised by some kind of seemingly God-centered idea. We need His grace and help to uncover the areas in which we are not pleasing Him.

On the flip side, I have also found a large crowd... well at least the 1% in the church that are committed to missions (again exaggerating a bit) that see riches as evil. The truth is that most of the time the riches cause us to love money which indeed is the root of all evil, so they are right in many regards. However, it is unbalanced... if we all committed to reading the Word and doing what it says: fix our hope on God realizing that He supplies all things to us for us to enjoy, be rich in good works, be generous and ready to share (bringing more joy) for things of eternal worth... that would really solve a lot of our problems. It's interesting that we are to be "ready to share". This means that we are saving money for that purpose... to share! He gives us these things for us to enjoy. He even says that! It is not wrong to enjoy the things He has blessed us with... He loves to give His children good gifts and see our satisfaction with His gifts. Yet, I think one of the ways we can enjoy His gifts the most is to share them. One of the ways God has lead me to do this is by actually putting different spots in my budget for "sharing". I don't claim to do it the "right way". I'm not sure that there is a "one size fits all" for this kind of thing. But I know for myself, I dislike spending money and so if I don't specifically plan to share, my natural tendency is to store up treasure for myself which is of absolutely no eternal value. I have found that one part of my budget the most joyous.

I think it important that whether we have much or have little, we are applying these truths. If God is gracious to me and I am fixing my hope on the uncertainty of riches, He will strip away those riches for my good so that I will fix my hope on God! Just because you are poor doesn't mean that you don't trust the Lord and just because you are rich doesn't mean that you do! It simply means that God knows what is best for you at this time and He wants you to be faithful with what He has given. I often think about the rich young ruler and how he went away from Christ sad because he had great wealth. May God in His grace strip away my earthly possessions completely before I walk away from Him to pursue my own riches.

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