Scripture Read: 1 Timothy 6:17-19 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.
Application: The words Paul uses in this text are truly a design by the Lord to make a very important point. The word “rich” is employed throughout the text, but with different contexts so that the reader must ask the right question concerning “riches”. It is clear from scripture that material things are neutral, they hold no intrinsic evil, it is the holder of those things that determines that. Scripture also makes very clear that anything of “real” value is eternal, not temporal. Here we see the Lord warn people that are rich – in temporal things – to not trust that kind of richness. Instead, they are to be rich – in eternal things – that would include how they use the wealth of material things God has blessed them with. The richness of their good works will lead them to be generous in sharing the extra God has given them with others. The philosophy of this world is to use God and get things. Paul instructs Timothy the direct opposite. God is what people need to get – not meant in an irreverent way – meaning the goal of one’s life should be to have a relationship with our Maker. Things are to use. So in this text the “storing up” is not what the world tries to store up – money – instead, it is treasure that is the foundation of the future, i.e. a treasure that is eternal. Remember, salvation is a free gift, all children of God have that, but from that foundation of Salvation we are told we build with God a life of investment.
1 Corinthians 3:10–15 According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. 11 For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. 14 If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. 15 If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
That investment is the realization of the eternal life that God has given us. Scripture describes it as “taking hold of that which is life”! This IS the difference between a child of God that lives a nominal Christian life and one that lives a life of fullness and abundant intimacy with Christ. It is so sad to meet people that claim to belong to God, yet clearly do not have joy in their life. Many I fear have deceived themselves and have never experienced a true conversion. Others though, did for a period of time taste that life after conversion, but have lost focus and now are “existing” as a believer instead of excelling as one. Through all my years as a counselor this has been a consistent sign in people’s lives that come to me due to lack of joy in their life. They are not investing their life for God; they are trying to gain the wealth and comfort of this world. Those I have discipled that invest their life in God have joy and fall into all levels of economic wealth. It all depends on where the Lord has placed them. Their joy in life comes from their relationship with their Maker, not their bank account. It is so true what the Lord said: If we try to save our life we will lose it, if we invest our life, losing the life the world offers, we will save what real life is, and experience it!
John 12:25 Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity. (NLT)
Meditation Questions: What brings you joy in life? Is it possible to be uncomfortable and still have joy? If no, Why? If yes - what does that look like? What steals your joy? What can you do to stop that? Do you think God delights when you enjoy the material things you have in this life? If no, why? If yes, why? What does your answer show you about how you view God?