Last week, we started talking about a dicey but intriguing subject for all of us: “How to be rich.” In Timothy 6:17, Paul writes, “As for those who are rich in the present age…” which pretty much includes all of us. If your household has a yearly income of $48,000 you’re in the top 1% of wage earners in the world. And if you have travelled to a developing nation or been on one of our mission trips to impoverished areas, you have seen firsthand the comparison between what we have and what the rest of the world lacks. We talked Sunday about a statement of faith we all could claim: we will not trust in riches but in God who richly provides for us. I don’t know about you, but I need to claim those words very often and remind myself that it really is God who provides for all that I and my family needs. This week Kim and I discovered a big plumbing problem at our house with an equally large bill. We’re trying to lean harder on God as we figure out what to do.
The letter to Timothy goes on, “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. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.”
We’ll be talking Sunday about the priorities in our lives that take our time and our money, two of our most precious commodities. Extra time and money always feel scarce and squeezed; there is seldom enough. Paul wrote these words to Timothy from experience. He had been in enough tight places. In Philippians 4 he reflects, “I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need.” Paul knew that God richly provides us with everything for our needs and enjoyment. When we understand that, when we trust that God has and always will provide, then we can care for others, give, share, love, and be rich in good works. Come Sunday as we worship and meet God, who so richly and generously cares for each of us.
Dr. Dave Summers
Senior Pastor, Paradise Valley UMC