Tuesday, October 9, 2012

1 Timothy 6:17-19

Summary retelling of 1 Timothy 6:17-19

Paul gives Timothy one more set of instructions for the rich.  They are to not to be arrogant about their position.  They are not to put their hope in the uncertainty of wealth.  They are to put their hope in God, who can richly bless us in any way.  They are to do well.  In fact, they are to consider themselves rich in good works rather than wealth.  They are to be generous and ready to share.  They are to not horde their present wealth but instead store up treasures in heaven.  In this way they can know true life.

Thoughts for Today
First Thought:
Paul revisits the idea of wealth.  This is a pretty serious topic for Paul.  Paul has already once spoken about wealth, and the fact that he comes back to revisit the topic at the end of the letter tells us that this must have been a pretty serious problem in Ephesus.  Paul must have known that there were rich people among the believers and that wealth was disrupting the congregation.  Unfortunately, human beings love wealth.  We can be very materialistic people.  We need people like Paul to lay out the truth when it comes to the human heart and our desire to live lives of luxury.

Why do you think wealth plagues so many people?  How does trust in God interact with the human desire for wealth?  How does wealth impact the relationships of people around us?

Second Thought:
Paul tells Timothy to instruct the rich that they can’t be arrogant about their wealth.  They aren’t to put any kind of hope for the future in their wealth.  After all, the things of this world can vanish overnight and we can’t see it coming.  In other words, a person’s material possessions shouldn’t affect how they live, how they relate spiritually to the people around them, or how they relate spiritual to God!

Do you think wealth changes how people relate to God?  If so, why?  Do you think wealth changes how people relate to one another?  If so, is this usually good or bad?  Do you think a person’s wealth affects how they live – especially compared to how God would have them live?  If so, in what way?

Third Thought:
Notice Paul’s emphasis on works here.  Again, this isn’t an emphasis for the sake of salvation.  Rather, Paul is saying that we can have evidence of our salvation through our response (works).  So many people today think that if a person is wealthy then God must love them.  That’s just not true.  It is not a person’s wealth that demonstrates God’s love.  Rather, God loves us and it is our works that demonstrate our love for Him and our genuinely grasping the gift of eternal life.

Why do you think people assume that God loves wealthy people more than poor people?  Why do you think Paul is taking a risk by reminding Timothy that it is not our financial position that makes a difference but rather our willingness to be used by God that makes a difference?

Passage for Tomorrow: 1 Timothy 6:20-21
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