Thursday, December 12, 2013
Sacrificial Summit Prayers of Ascent - Day #12
I Timothy 6:17-19 – “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.”
This passage is a charge given to a young pastor, Timothy. He was teaching him how to lead a charge as a rookie pastor of a small church plant. One of the things Paul wanted to pass down to his protégé was a theology of money. How to view it, how God views it, how the worlds views it…and how to make sense (cents) of it.
I loved some of the things Paul shared about money to hit the tuning fork this young pastor…
#1 – God doesn’t condemn being rich, he is simply concerned about people putting their hope in wealth and becoming arrogant human beings. This breaks His heart.
#2 – I must say that “God richly providing us with everything for our enjoyment” is a refreshing image of Him, to say the least. He richly provides us with stuff so that we can enjoy it? Really? REALLY?
#3 – He wants us to take the rich blessings and convert our financial currency into charitable goodness, action, generosity, and sharing. If our “greenbacks” aren’t turned into “givebacks”, we break His commandment.
#4 – We have to be spending ourselves and our money on the things that matter for eternity. The only thing we can take with us beyond this life is people…so the greatest investment of our money is to use it to reach more people for Christ.
#5 – When we follow God’s financial plan, we “take hold of life that is truly life”, which means that you can take hold of life that isn’t really life. Life that feels like life, but isn’t.
#6 - God’s greatest desire for us is “true life” and “rich enjoyment”…none of shallow fleeting stuff or fluffy stuff. He wants us to experience deep, rich, full life…our money can keep us from that or lead us to that. It’s all in how we see and use it.
Remember, it is “the love of money that is the root of all evil”, not money itself. God isn’t against wealth, just greed. He isn’t against blessing, just selfishness. He isn’t against possessions, just hoarding. He isn’t against enjoyment, just hedonism. He isn’t against life, just life that isn’t true life. Everything God is saying in this passage is meant to reorient our vision of money and align it with the eternal dreams of God. Will our money be used to change people’s lives and echo into eternity, or will it be used to make us insular, prideful and greedy? Believe me when I say the souls of people hang in the balance of how we answer those questions.
“God, make us rich so that we can richly bless others. Take our monies and turn them into good deeds, generous gifts, and a willingness to share. Make us willing, not just able. Take our ability to give and infuse it with a willingness to do so. We want enjoyment, the kind you give. We want life, the life that is truly life that you bestow. We don’t want to pursue those things apart from you. We will follow your commands that you’ve shared with us today, Lord. These aren’t suggestions…they are commands and we want to obey. In Jesus name, Amen.”