1 Timothy 6:17-21
17 Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; 18 that they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; 19 laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.
20 O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:
21 which some professing have erred from the faith. Grace be with the. AMEN
I discussed at length in an earlier post the trap rich people can get into. I can only surmise these things because I am by no means rich. At least not in earthly possessions. Well, now that I think about it, compared to many in this world, I am rich. I have a car; my wife has a car and we have a camper. We have a roof over our heads and a garage over our cars. We both work more than one job and I receive social security and do some lay ministry. Our cupboards are full and so is the fridge and the freezer. We do not lack for anything necessary for life. We are blessed and sometimes we forget how many riches we have. Compared to about 90% of the world’s population, we are rich.
I always have to be careful that I do not look down on those who do not have as much as I do. It is easy to see the homeless or the destitute, or the one living on welfare and food stamps, or the one who cannot buy decent clothing and lives in a ragged house, and wonder why they can’t do better. Maybe if they worked harder or even found a job, they could improve their lifestyle. Why do they live in such deplorable conditions? Then I think about the fact that a person in the heart of Africa my be rich beyond his wildest dreams in his present living conditions. He may be the richest man in the village! But coming to America and seeing what most of us have, he would see himself a poor man with endless possibilities to enter the richness that is our great country.
This is something we always need to keep in mind. It is not the wealth and material possessions we gather on this earth that make us godly or even show that God is pleased with us or not. I hear many say that they are rich and therefor God favors them more. This is one of the ways we become high minded. Thinking we are better or closer to God because of our material worth is pride, pure and simple. Our closeness to God does not have a price tag, and our blessings from God vary depending on the call of God on our lives. God knows who he can entrust with riches and who would simply get into worse trouble if he had riches. I am a perfect example of the latter. In the early 1980’s I worked for a retail outlet called Pamida. I had risen to the place of store manager and moved to the small town of Belmond, Iowa (where we still reside) the company had an ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan) and in 1984 they dissolved the plan and distributed the money to the employees. I received about $73,000! We bought a house, a new van and a few other things, not thinking to out a whole lot back in a savings account. Two years later we got so far behind we foreclosed on the house and moved into a smaller, less expensive place. We were broke and getting broker. That money did me little good.
My aversion to riches started when I was a kid with a paper route. Every week on Friday I would collect for the paper back then. It was a lucrative day because people liked to give tips. I was a very good paper boy! The problem was that the last stop on my paper route was a candy store. They had about a hundred choices of candy, many for a penny a piece. My sweet tooth ruled my mind in those days and I typically spend all my tips on candy to be eaten as I walked the mile back home. Ever since those days my ability to save money has been less than admirable, even when I came into extra money. I never learned that principle of life.
I know I can overcome that but it seems every time I have money, I just have to spend it somewhere. We get our bills paid and we stay afloat, but barely. Paycheck to paycheck is our lifestyle and has been all our married years. But we are blessed. We have all we need and more. Would we like a new camper, or a Caribbean cruise, or to finish our long remodeling project on our house? Of course, we would! But to this point in life God has not brought the finances to support such an investment in ourselves. I am not really a trustworthy investment for God. He provides my needs and I am content with that. He is always merciful to me! I have come to a place where I do not trust in riches or material things, but in what God supplies day to day and week to week. By faith he takes care of me.
To me, this is what Paul is getting at with his words. He is saying that what we do in our lives is much more important than riches we can acquire. And if we do acquire riches, we must not think we are any better than anyone else. We should still do good works, communicate with kindness and gentleness and give when God asks us to give. This is how we build a solid foundation of faith. It is not the riches that build our foundation but what we do with them. Whether God has blessed us with much or with little, we are accountable to Him for what we have. Especially in these last days this holds true because it is a witness of our devotion to Him.
Verse 20 fascinates me. I understand the part about keeping what has been committed to me and avoiding vain babblings. We should be grave about life. Laughter is good when it is appropriate. But the dirty little joke is all around us all the time, and that is not for a Christian to take part in. God has committed a great trust to us – the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ! If we are joking around all the time and the jokes, we tell are off color or prejudicial, how will someone take us seriously when we try to tell them, about Jesus? If we are just babbling in the breeze and not making any sense with our topics or words, why would they think we are genuine? God has entrusted His greatest treasure to us. We must treat it as such. I was listening to a wonderful video by Mark Lowery this morning as I drove down the road. I laughed out loud several times. It was clean and funny and had no sexual inuendo anywhere. So, when he brought the gospel message into it at the end, I could listen. Let us so hold onto and appreciate those things he has entrusted us with.
The last words in verse 20 are “avoiding oppositions of science falsely so called.” Even in Paul’s day they had scientists who were coming against the gospel and the word of God. For all I know about it, there were scientists who questioned the genesis account way back then. Scientists who tried to refute everything about the gospel, from Jesus birth to His resurrection. Scientists who said the world was coming to an end. I am not sure what scientists were thinking back then, but I know what they are saying now. It has not changed. This is science falsely so called. Science is based on fact, not theory. Evolution is still a theory. Evolution if false science. The science that says people are born with an LGBTQ gene is a false science – God made them male and female, plain and simple. Scientists try to come up with all kinds of false science on how the universe was created or ma0de or came into being. They go from a coming ice age in the 70’s to global warming to climate change trying to justify their theories and forgetting God is in control. We have false science all around us these days. Avoid arguments about these things and keep the main thing the man thing. Keep those things that are committed to your trust – the Word of God and the principles of Godly living. Doing this will keep you more than all the riches of this world.