Paul finishes his first letter to Timothy with some practical advice on how to deal with those inside the congregation who have some amount of wealth. Pastoring in the wealthy Houston suburbs, this is always a doozy of a passage for me.
Here's the instruction: tell those who are rich in this world to get ready for the next.
Question: shouldn't we tell everyone in this world to get ready for the next world? Yes. But the rich deserve special recognition here because they have the proclivity and temptation to trust in their riches instead of Christ (see the Rich Young Ruler in Luke 18).
So Paul lays it out there. He says the following...
1. People with wealth should focus on God and not their wealth. Easier said than done since the latter provides comfort and is easily seen while the former consistently challenges us and is not so easily seen. The latter promotes pride and haughtiness while the former opposes pride and haughtiness.
2. People with wealth should remember that wealth is uncertain and God is generous to us. He provides us with all things to enjoy.
3. People with wealth are charged with doing good and being rich in more than just a bank account. Be rich, Paul says, in good works! Fix a widow's fence. That's something worth doing (and an example from our church from this month).
4. People with wealth have the opportunity and the command to be generous and ready to share. To do so lays up treasure in heaven.
So, in light of the fact that if you're reading this you probably qualify as a person with wealth - at least compared to the rest of the world - then which of those do you need to apply immediately?