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That Which is Life Indeed

May 29, 2011

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. 1 Timothy 6:17-19

If we don’t watch out we will spend a lifetime pursuing “riches.” For many this goal is elusive for at least two reasons: you get more and you want more, and as Paul says, riches are “uncertain.” They tend to grow wings and fly away (Proverbs 23:5).

Better to receive wealth from God in heaven who “richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.” Then when we do acquire riches, he instructs us to dole them out rather than to cling to them.

Why not spend a lifetime building a “good foundation” for the future by doing good works and sharing what you have with others? This is “taking hold of life indeed”, not building an investment account to be spent on temporal things or held in reserve for some unforeseen “monsoon.” (On the other hand, I think it’s good stewardship to save something for a normal rainy day.)

When we acquire wealth it’s very easy to become conceited or “high-minded.” We have all or more than we need and no potential pothole along the way is perceived as potentially disastrous. Better to be dependent on God and hanging by a shoestring.

We’ve all grown up in a culture that puts a premium on setting up a “nest egg” for the future. While we do this our pension plans–if we have them–are now targets to fund ever-increasing debt loads. Furthermore, even if we are cautious with our 401Ks, they are still subject to casino-like risks.

In Paul’s book. “life indeed” is not a lazy retirement or world travels–well maybe if it’s a mission trip. It’s doing good with our time and strategic divestiture of our treasure (Luke 3:11).

Won’t find that strategy in the Wall Street Journal.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. mossbooker permalink
    June 4, 2011 12:15 pm

    This is such a debated issue now as a few books have surfaced in the past few years, most notably, “Radical.” It’s hard to know where to draw the line between giving/sharing generously and I Timothy 5:8 on providing for our family. Is “providing” just meeting the daily needs or making sure they are taken care of in the sense of security for the future?

    It’s obvious that if we allow it to become our identity then we are putting “other gods” before Him and serving them, thus inciting the jealousy of our god, not a pleasant thought. Why would I would want to make my creator jealous?

    Then how do you know?

    If I want discernment or wisdom then I need to rest on the promise of James 1:5: “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” There are lots of verses to back up a conviction of giving everything away, and you can also scripturally defend leaving an inheritance for your children’s children according to Proverbs 13:22.

    I would say it’s probably rare for God to say “Give $xxx and xxx cents to this guy and that organization” but if we’re asking for wisdom (believing and not doubting that He will give it, James 1:6) then we can trust that we will be given guidance on how to multiply the resources we’re given and then give generously.

    • June 5, 2011 7:04 pm

      This topic is easy to comment on but hard to put in action! I’ve always had just enough, but the obligations I created in the past were debatable and sometimes dubious (cars)! I think if we are “ready to share,” that’s the key, and if we log years simply serving, that’s the other. Then as you say when the Lord gives you wisdom, you share in response. Thanks for engaging and for your well thought out comments.

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