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October 11

1 Timothy 6:17-19

17 Instruct those who are rich in the present age not to be arrogant or to set their hope on the uncertainty of wealth, but on God, who richly provides us with all things to enjoy. 18 Instruct them to do what is good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and willing to share, 19 storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of what is truly life. — 1 Timothy 6:17-19

Your Spiritual Storehouse

by J. Rodney Taylor, Ed.D.
Brentwood Campus

How would you respond if I asked you to define the word “rich”? During my career as a fund-raising consultant, I attended numerous personal meetings with some of the wealthiest individuals in our country. In one particular meeting I recall the words of a man whose wealth was estimated to be into the billions: “You know, wealth is wonderful to have because I never have to worry about my financial future, but I do have to worry constantly about losing it all. Sometimes it consumes me.” If a person is relentlessly consumed with retaining wealth and maintaining a lifestyle, he or she is not free to pursue a truly rich existence.

Riches can take many forms. One may be rich in money; another could be rich in health; yet another could be rich in intellect. Paul acknowledged that God is the source of all we enjoy. And while it is good to appreciate the rich provisions of God, life is more than possessions. Especially in today’s world, material wealth can get in the way of putting our trust in God, and it can be a hindrance to following Jesus (Mark 10:17-22).

Paul describes true riches as “good works, generosity, and a willingness to share.” But good works do not come naturally; they are the result of a life of faith (James 5:14-17), and they reveal the true light of one’s life (Matthew 5:16). Everyone who is saved by faith is saved for good deeds, to walk in them (Ephesians 2:8-10). If a person claims to be saved by faith but his life is not growing in holiness and good deeds, his claim is suspect. Christians should be rich in good deeds as evidence of their abundant gratitude to God for His gift of eternal life. But gratitude should extend beyond finances. It should include our time and efforts on behalf of others. Because God is so generous to us, we ought also to be generous to others.

Heaven is not like Fort Knox where we store earthly treasure, but it is a repository where we can store spiritual treasure. As we perform good deeds and maintain a generous attitude toward others, we are storing up the right kind of riches in heaven.

We should not place our faith in wealth. We must place our hope in God who is the giver of wealth. He is our Shepherd, and He has promised that “we shall not want” (Psalm 23:1). Jesus taught us to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you” (Matthew 6:33).

Praxis

1. How would you assess your attitude toward wealth? Are you being faithful to store up riches in heaven?
2. Do you view all you have as belonging to God and not to yourself?
3. Do you see yourself as a steward, appointed by God to oversee His world and your possessions?
4. Ask God to reveal any selfishness or other hindrance to sharing and to help you become more skilled at giving.