Summary: 4th of Jul fireworks are bought each year. The amount spent is staggering. People are starving around the world yet we still spend on such things. What could be done with that kind of money in Haiti, the Sudan,India....etc? What does God say about it?
Sermon: 1 Tim 6:19
This message in no way is intended to bash people of wealth. Many people of wealth are very wonderful Christians and they contribute greatly to the church.
ILLUSTRATION: A man invited Charles Spurgeon to a country church as the guest speaker. Spurgeon was asked to give his "best sermon", because the church had a debt that needed paid. The man thought Spurgeons celebrity status would move the congregation toward retiring the debt in short order. The man wrote in the invitation: "Please come and feel at home. You may use my towne home, my country estate or my seaside villa". Spurgeon wrote back...."I'll not accept your invitation".... "sell one of your homes and retire the debt...."
The Apostle Paul was giving many instructions to Timothy throughout this letter. Toward the end of Paul's letter, He brought up the subject of money. Now put yourself in the shoes of the wealthy during that period. For many wealthy folk, this was the first time they would have heard anyone suggest they give their money away, or in this case to place any "hope" in riches. Nothing has changed since those early times. Many people are never challenged to "share" nor are they taught the truth about money....and who owns it all....and who blessed them with it......or how much destruction money can cause in this life.
Here's what Paul says: 1 Timothy 6:17-19 - "Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. (18) Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. (19) In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life."
Let's examine this passage. Let's dissect it carefully.
First, we find Timothy (who was one of Paul's closest companions) was sent to the Ephesian church for a specific purpose. The church was practicing false teachings and Paul needed Timothy to go back to it (which Timothy probably was a leader there in the past) and "preach" the truth about various topics. Paul brought up numerous other topics that needed addressed, such as public worship, prayer, church leaders (overseers and deacons). He addressed the issue of pastoral care to the young and old, widows and such. It appears Paul urged Timothy to stand firm in the faith and be above reproach.
Ephesus was a wealthy city. It stands to reason....... that particular church likely had many wealthy members, otherwise why would Paul speak about money? Paul wanted Timothy to remind the rich people that wealth had a responsibility attached. First, they must thank God for their good fortune. Don't trust money for eternal destiny, and if you got it....spend it to do good. Be "rich" in good works. Share! Don't let money control you....let God control you.
Now, we come to the scriptures and the money issue. Apparently Paul had his fill with all the wealthy people who were selfish and misguided about their wealth. This would have been a tough topic back then.....as it is today.
Verse 17 (NIV) - Paul "commands" something. He commands "those who are rich" to do something (or not to do in this case). Paul "commands" the "rich" to not be arrogant about their wealth.
I have met many a wealthy man and I must admit....some are in fact arrogant. Just sayin...... not judging people who are wealthy. They think they are something they are not. The think they are people of privilege because of their money. They have an insatiable need to be first in everything and have nothing but the best. Very competitive throughout their life. They often times say things like "I'm a self made man". "It's MY money, and I'll decide how its spent". "I started this business with only $200 and now I'm a millionaire" "Nobody helped me make my fortune"....and so on. That's the kind of arrogance Paul was talking about. Those rich people put their hope in their wealth. Many wealthy people need the Lord. Many wealthy people will be judged very harshly in the end if they violate God's desire for them to "share".
Verse 18 - Paul gives another instruction to Timothy for him to "Command" them again. Command them to "do good". Be rich in "good deeds". To be "generous" and "share". How more simple could this message be? Is this really open to interpretation? It looks pretty cut and dried to me.
I love the 4th of July Holiday. I retired from the USAF after 20 years active service and I often think back to all the military men and women who served, and died, for our independence. Our independence is not just a one time blurp in history. It didn't all take place in 1776. It's a fluid, ongoing struggle to keep our independence. There are people in this world who want us to collapse. We fight on. I appreciate all those who served, past, present and future. I appreciate the American resolve from all those who didn't serve but supported in some way. I appreciate the red, white and blue and what she stands for.