Summary: What is God's word to the rich? And why should we care since we're not rich? Oh, wait ... are we rich?
1 Timothy 6:17 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.
Good morning. My name is Bobby Gilles, and I’m a deacon here. This winter we’ve been learning from a sermon series called Money Talks. The Bible says a lot about money, so each week we’ve explored some of its teachings.
Today’s verses are addressed to “those who are rich in this present world.” I feel challenged to preach this passage because hardly anyone thinks they’re rich. Why bother preaching it if you don’t feel like it applies to you?
You know how you struggle to make ends meet. We did a survey of church members a few months ago, and found that the average household income here is $67,000. Some of you make that amount, and some of you make considerably more than that amount, but you’re thinking, “You don’t know what a burden my mortgage is. And my student loans. And my medical expenses, and two car payments.”
Others of you are thinking, “$67,000? Wow. I wish I made that much.” Kristen and I are under that amount, so I’m tempted to envy those of you who are there or above – to think, maybe today’s reading applies to you, but not to me.
Then, something made me remember Jeff Foxworthy. Remember, the Redneck Joke guy? The one who had all the funny, “You might be a redneck if …” jokes, like:
“You might be a redneck if your wife has ever said, ‘Come move this transmission so I can take a bath.’”
“You might be a redneck if your mother keeps a spit cup on the ironing board.”
“You might be a redneck if your house doesn’t have curtains, but your truck does.”
The jokes are predicated on the possibility that you might be a redneck, but not know it.
Then I started thinking about how Jesus taught us to pray to the Father, “Give us this day our daily bread.”
I started thinking about how, in most parts of the world and in most periods of human history, “daily bread” was all people could hope for. Then I came up with a few ways to tell if today’s scripture applies to us. To tell, not if we’re rednecks, but if we’re rich. I warn you, though, I’m no Jeff Foxworthy. These aren’t remotely funny.
You might be rich if you had something to eat yesterday, and are reasonably sure that you’re going to get something to eat today. In fact, the prayer “give us this day our daily bread” is just a poetic phrase to you. Your big dilemma is figuring out how to keep from eating too much every day.
You might be rich if you can drink a glass of water whenever you want, and be almost certain that it doesn’t contain bacteria that might kill you.
You might be rich if there’s virtually no chance that your kids will be eaten by a wild animal or even exposed to the elements after you tuck them in tonight.
And let’s not restrict this to necessities. What about entertainment and the arts? Anyone in this room with internet access can listen to almost any song that’s ever been recorded, as often as you want, without paying for it (much to the chagrin of many songwriters).
Anyone who pays Netlix or Hulu a few dollars a month can watch an almost limitless number of movies, anytime you want.
And if you can’t afford that, you can borrow from thousands of DVDs, Blu-Ray and VHS at the New Albany Library, for a week at a time. Kristen and I did that for a year, before we got Netflix.
Not to mention the thousand of books at the library – more books than kings and queens had access to in past centuries. And the access to computers with WiFi, which you can use for two hours at a time.
And paintings! When we bought our house, we couldn’t afford to furnish all the walls with artwork so we started borrowing art from the library. We still do it. They have many paintings, which you can check out for months at a time. Visit us in the summer and you’ll see summer themed paintings on our walls. In the winter, we get winter themed paintings.