Maybe You Are Rich

Being Rich In Good Works

Warren E. Berkley

As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.  They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share,  thus  storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life. O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge,” for by professing it some have swerved from the faith. Grace be with you. – 1 Tim. 6:17-21

Today, when we hear the word “rich,” it may be that our first response is: “that’s certainly not me! I’m not rich.” It all depends upon what standard you apply. If you compare typical working people with average income to millionaires, the average people are not rich. But when you compare our average income citizens to the destitute in Mexico, we are rich. It all depends on what standard you apply.

Our best use of this passage is, to assume we are relatively rich and apply this teaching to our lives (if it turns out, we are not “rich,” still, the application of this teaching certainly does no harm, and enriches our attitude of humility.) All of us should avoid being “haughty,” or arrogant. No one should set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches. All of us should set our trust and hope on God, knowing He “richly provides us with everything to enjoy.”

Each one of us ought to “do good … be rich in good works … generous and ready to share.” No matter what your economic condition is, or whether you are rich in your own eyes or not – everything in verse 18 ought to be taken seriously and applied daily.

Living this way enables us to receive fully from God and store up treasure for ourselves, “as a good foundation for a good future, so that” we “may take hold of that which is truly life.” {Observe, we do not have “true life” by default or imposition or automatically. We must “take hold” of it. We do that through our response to the gospel Paul and Timothy delivered.}

Finally, this urgent word from God, through Paul to Timothy: “O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is false called knowledge, for by profession it, some have swerved from the faith.”

Timothy was the recipient of a “deposit,” the gospel of Christ. The entrustment is, that Timothy not only believe and live that gospel, but deliver it, preach it, press it upon all willing to hear.

“Avoid the irreverent babble.” Simple definition: Talk that doesn’t honor God. Timothy is not a public spokesman for just anything that he might hear. He is to be so devoted to the gospel, no human message even competes with it in his mind.

“Contradictions of what is falsely called ‘knowledge’,” simply means messages opposing the gospel, marketed as “knowledge.” Timothy’s commitment to just preaching the gospel would be challenged by babble and messages and philosophy that had a popular attraction and elite seal of approval – but was false. “Some” – without the commitment to the truth in heart and life – would swerve from the faith.

Paul’s desire for Timothy is for his heart and life to be so filled by God’s generosity and grace, he would spend his life guarding the deposit, preaching the Word and teaching and urging others to do the same. In this way, Timothy would be “rich in good works.”

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