Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 1 Timothy 6:18 (NIV).
As with yesterday’s verse, here Paul is talking primarily about wealth, about Timothy instructing wealthy believers to share with others. As with yesterday’s verse, let’s construe how it goes deeper than that.
This past Sunday I taught the “tweeners” at our church, the kids in 3-6th grade. Our lesson was on building the Tabernacle in the Sinai desert, how God instructed the Israelites to give of what they had to complete His work, in this case building the tabernacle tent where God Himself could tabernacle with them (meaning He would abide and go with His people). God asked them to give in ways that hurt their pride, giving up the gold and wealth they had plundered from Egypt so that it could be dedicated to Him. He didn’t do it out of vanity. He did it as a lesson for their hearts. “I’m your God. I love you. Your wealth isn’t your god. It doesn’t love anything. Provide these small things as I provide for you.”
Boom. That’s bigger than some bar of gold, or your 401K, or any of my possessions. It’s not the economy: He’s our God. That’s the message Paul gives his protégé to teach. Our God provides for us in all ways, including the Savior to save us from ourselves. Those to whom He has given extra blessings should willingly share those with those blessed in less monetary ways as a gesture of love and respect for Jesus.
Jesus our God, whose whole ministry was about how He could give 100% of Himself to others, how He taught love and justice to the world through the example of serving, of giving completely even up to His own life. He who gave everything for people who would murder Him still gives Himself up for our sins. He calls us to a better way, beginning with our hearts. When so many things draw our hearts away from Him, He still searches for us and wants us to love our sisters and brothers that same way.
Those who have material wealth have worldly opportunities to do this in ways that those without it don’t. If you have it, what will you do? If you won’t, you can do other things. Will you?
Having wealth is a blessing from God, just like having health, having talent, having passion. They’re gifts from Him; even elementary schoolers know that. My friend, let’s each do something, for Him, with our gifts today.
For further reading: Romans 12:8, Ephesians 4:28, 1 Timothy 6:13-21.
Blessing Lord, You are holy and good. You save us, please forgive us today for the wrongs we do. Teach us to give and share the wealth, the talents, the everything You give to us for the good of Your Kingdom