“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.” (1 Timothy 6:17)
The Apostle Paul here is challenging his young pastor Timothy to command those who are rich not to be arrogant or put their hope in wealth. But who are the rich? Think about this: if your household made $50,000 in 2014, 99.69% of the world’s population made less than you did. That’s a pretty staggering statistic. And when we compare ourselves against the sum total of people who have lived throughout history, we can’t deny it. The rich Paul’s referring to? That’s us. So what do we do about it?
This passage is commanding us –not suggesting or hinting—but commanding us to put our hope in God who is the provider of all rather than our wealth. The Bible emphasizes this because God understands this is the natural trajectory of our hearts. When we start to have things, things start to have us. Our stuff fills us with pride and makes us feel powerful. If we’re not careful, we’ll start to tie our hope and our joy to what we have and our ability to acquire it.
That’s a dangerous road to start down and eventually we wake up wondering how we got so far off track. The Bible says every good gift comes from God, and it all belongs to Him. We can’t take credit for what we’ve been given. And oh, by the way, Jesus said to whom much is given, much is required. It’s not wrong to have riches, but we should not cling to them or pride ourselves in attaining them. And with the abundant blessings we’ve been given should come an overflow of radical generosity to others.
Prayer: Father I thank You for the abundant blessings You have given me. Rid my heart of any arrogance or love of money and replace it with gratitude and hope in You. Open my eyes to opportunities to share Your blessings with others. Amen.