1 Timothy 5:23-6:21; Jeremiah 3-4; Psalm 120
The Bible makes a distinction between those who pursue riches, at the detriment to their faith and those who use their wealth appropriately. Money itself is not designated as evil, contrary to the misunderstanding of what is said in 1 Timothy; the love of money is. The warning is that many will compromise their faith in order to get wealth. That of course is a problem in today’s society. We let greed guide us instead of God. When we do that, we misrepresent all that God stands for. There is nothing wrong with wealth in and of itself, but there are special commands to those who are rich. “Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.” (1 Timothy 6:17-19) There were expectations of those who were rich in the ancient world in terms of support for the city. Paul calls on Timothy to remind the rich that material wealth is temporary. The purpose for wealth is so that those with much can help those in need. The wealthy in the ancient world often involved themselves in great public works. Paul reminded Timothy that the wealthy among followers of Christ needed to build great spiritual buildings by using their wealth to help others. The same holds true today. Those who have wealth are still called by God to be rich in good works, be ready to give and be willing to share. And who are the wealthy? My understanding is that if you are reading this, you are wealthy. When you compare yourself to others in the United States, you may not feel wealthy; when compared to the world, you have great wealth. Today, the challenge is set before us. If we really are wealth, can we show that wealth not in ostentatious displays of self-indulgence, but in the generosity that comes from God as we find ways to care for others in need?
Lord, while I don’t consider myself wealthy in my country, I recognize that I am among the most wealthy people in the world. Let me be willing to give of my material wealth to help those in need. Let my good works reflect the wealth I have in You. Let me share my material and spiritual wealth with a world in need.