1 Timothy 6:2 - 21 ...Teach and urge these things. 3 If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, 4 he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, 5 and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain. 6 But godliness with contentment is great gain, 7 for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. 8 But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. 9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. 11 But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13 I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, 14 to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 which he will display at the proper time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen. 17 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. 18 They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, 19 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. 20 O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge,” 21 for by professing it some have swerved from the faith. Grace be with you.
Paul meets Timothy on his second missionary journey with Silas. Paul and Barnabas had split ways over a disagreement, and Timothy ends up joining Paul’s group and traveling with him. After years of being with Paul, Timothy is left to pastor the church in Ephesus while Paul headed back to Macedonia. Timothy is bearing the weight of pastoring a church and dealing with false teachings, and Paul writes him to encourage and reinforce sound doctrine.
1. Make sure the foundation is sound.
9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.
Why we do what we do can determine whether it ruins us or not.
10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.
Making money is not bad, but the worship of it will kill you. What is motivating you to make it? Enjoyment is not bad. Providing for family is not bad. Doing good is obviously not bad. Being generous is not bad. Leaving an inheritance is not bad.
Ephesus was a very wealthy and affluent city, and certain unholy motivations about money had crept into the church. If you have accepted the gospel and Christ reigns in your life, there should be evidence of it in your behavior.
2. 2 times to be rich
17 As for the rich in this present age,
It is possible to be rich in one age and not the other. We can be rich in this age and poor in the one to come.
Mark 8:36 36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?
Luke 12:13-21 13 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” 14 But he said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?” 15 And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” 16 And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, 17 and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ 18 And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ 21 So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”
Paul is instructing Timothy that wealth doesn’t automatically follow you into eternity. Paul wasn’t assuming they were eternally rich but “in this present age.”
3. Make a plan
17 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. 18 They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, 19 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.
Trust in God alone and enjoy what he has entrusted to you. “...but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.”
Never worship the thing God is blessing you with. God alone should hold our affection.
Do good things with what you have been entrusted. If you are going to do good with what you have, you have to plan on what you have doing good. If good things come to those who wait, you have to plan on waiting.
Good things rarely happen without planning.
Proverbs 13:22 A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, Proverbs 21:5 The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty.
Planning requires discipline today to reach a desired outcome tomorrow. Paul was instructing Timothy to tell rich people to have not just any plan, but a Godly plan, with their riches.
Now, Then, Us, Them
Plan to pay all your bills - that is good.
Plan to save for the future - that is good.
Plan to leave an inheritance - that is good.
Plan to be generous to others - that is good.
If the Gospel has changed us then it changes what we do and definitely what we do with our money. Be generous and ready to share.
Paul is actually talking about more than handing out money. His whole letter to Timothy is drilling down on the principle of life change starting from within. If the Gospel changed us, then it also should change what we do. The inverse of that is if we are doing good, it should be as a result of a good motivation and not the desire to “look” right.
Paul was encouraging a fellowship, not just an offering. It is easier to give money than give yourself. This wasn’t about planning to check a box off that they were generous; it was instruction on how to be the church. Give of yourself and your resources.
Plan for this life and the one to come.
19 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.
By not planning in this life, you will by default not plan for the one to come. The church is to take it seriously. Have a God-honoring plan and live it out.
1. Why are people prone to becoming prideful about their blessings instead of grateful to God for his generosity?
2. Why is it important to have a clear understanding of what the Bible says about money?
3. How do we separate being wise about increasing our finances (healthy) from loving money (unhealthy)?
4. What are some warning signs that we have an unhealthy relationship with money?
5. How can we put money in the proper perspective so we enjoy it without feeling guilty but not become obsessed with it?
6. How can we avoid being financially rich but spiritually poor in this life as well as the one to come?
7. What is the risk of trusting money to take care of us?
8. What is the benefit of trusting God to take care of us and enjoying whatever he has given us?
9. Why is it important to make a specific plan to be generous with our blessings? Why doesn’t it work to simply decide to be generous but have no clear plan for it?
10. How does the way we handle our money show others that we love God and show God we are grateful for how he has blessed us?
11. Why is important for our generosity to be motivated by love and not obligation or selfish ambition?