I suppose I could have finished up I Timothy yesterday. But there were a lot of things that Paul talked about in that passage that I couldn’t get into yesterday, and so that’s what I want to finish with today.
The people in this world pursue many things. They pursue fame, pleasure, power, and security. But perhaps the thing they pursue most is money. Fame often leads to riches. And money seems to be the easiest way to obtain pleasure, power, and security.
And for some preachers of the gospel, then in Paul’s time, and even now, their main pursuit in life is worldly prosperity.
But Paul tells us this is not what we are to pursue. He says true prosperity is found in godliness alongside a heart of contentment.
And in a lot of ways, the two are intertwined. Truly godly people don’t find contentment in the things of this world. They find contentment in knowing that they’re at peace with God. In God, they find that they truly have all that they really need.
Ungodly people can never be content, at least not in the long run. They are never satisfied. They always want more. And the more they have, the emptier they become. And even if they somehow manage to find contentment in their life apart from God, they will eventually find that it is not lasting. For as Paul said,
We brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. (7)
And when the day of judgment comes, people will stand before God with all their power and possessions stripped from them. And on that day, God will ask not, “How much money do you have? What possessions do you have to offer me?” Instead, he will ask, “What did you do with my Son?”
So Paul warns Timothy, “Don’t pursue riches. Loving money only leads to evil and ultimately will plunge people into eternal destruction.” (6:9-10)
Even in this life, many people see their lives destroyed by their love for money. How many lives and families have been destroyed because of people’s love for money through gambling? How many lives and families have been damaged or destroyed because people become workaholics in their pursuit of money? So many people have been pierced with grief because of their love for money.
That’s why Paul tells us,
But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. (8)
What are we to pursue then, if not money? Righteousness. Godliness. Faith. Love. Endurance. Gentleness.
If we were to pursue these things in our lives, how much better would our lives be? How much better would our marriages and relationships with others be? More importantly, how much better would our relationship with God be?
It is the pursuit of these things that truly lead to great gain in our lives.
Paul then become very practical for those who have riches. It’s so easy for those who are rich, and even those who are not, to put their hope and faith in money. But Paul told Timothy,
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. (17)
He then tells them,
Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.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. (18-19)
Used properly, money is not a bad thing. It can do a lot of good. It can touch a lot of lives. And in using your money in this way, we lay up treasures that will never fade, and find what true life is all about.
Our pastor challenged us this past Sunday to sacrifice some of our money that we would normally spend on Christmas presents to give to the needy. My wife and I plan to join others in the church in doing that.
How about you? What are you pursuing? Where is your hope in life?